How To Retrieve Missing Tax Documents

Tax season is just around the corner and it’s time to start planning and organizing your prerequisites. For even the most avid of planners, some documentation required to file taxes are completely dependent on their employers and clients they’ve earned income with. Now’s the time to start researching about how to get those tax documents on time in order to receive your earliest refund or get that tax bill out of the way.  Many individuals will be faced with challenging, but solvable roadblocks. One of the most common situations faced by taxpayers turns out to be missing tax documents. These may include lost W-2s , 1099s, or even tax documents and earnings from mortgage lenders or banks.

Missing Tax Document Recovery

In some cases, it’s just a matter of an incorrect address that results in you not getting your file. At other times, it could be irresponsibility on an employer’s part. If you’re missing some of these documents, there are simple steps that can be taken to retrieve your income tax forms. The IRS also makes provisions to individuals who do not get responses from these steps. This article will outline easy strategies, specifically for individual tax returns.

Let’s First Examine Missing W-2s

Employers are required by law to provide W-2 forms by January 31. If you haven’t received this form by the end of January, the first step would be to contact your employer. You can ask them to resend a new W-2, or even email you a copy. Should an employer fail to send you the form by mid-February, your next step would be to contact the IRS. You will have to fill out what is known as a substitute W-2 form, otherwise known as Form 4852. In this application, you will have to fill out estimated earnings from your employer/s,  in order to file taxes before deadlines. This route can be taken or you can choose to file an extension if necessary. Deadlines for filing individual tax returns are usually in the middle of April. Form 4868  allows you to automatically file a six month extension if you prefer.

In addition, if you were employed by more than one company in the tax  year, be sure to contact previous employers. Ensure that you provide them with an up-to-date mailing address well before the required mailing time.

Also, the IRS in recent times, has provided taxpayers with a reliable customer service line to answer questions. Reps can be reached at 800.829.1040. Keep in mind that you will need your personal information on hand such as your SSN, address, date of birth, etc. In addition, your employment dates and the employer’s contact information is needed to maneuver this process smoothly.

What About Missing 1099s

When it comes to 1099s, there are so many variables. If you made more than $600 as an independent contractor, you are obligated to report this income to your tax form. A form 1099 lists interest, self-employment income, dividends, trade and so forth.

In the event you participated in stock exchange, your broker should send you a 1099. Contact your broker for a friendly reminder or confirmation that this form will be mailed on-time for the tax season. If you’re a consultant like say, a graphic designer, developer or any other type of freelancer, your client should send you a 1099 form if you made more than $600 with them.

Mortgage and Bank Tax Information

Nowadays, mortgage lenders and your personal banker allow you to access downloadable tax information on their websites. If you have an online banking account, it’s even easier to access your tax files. If you earned interest on your bank’s checking or savings account in excess of $10, your bank will also mail you a form between the end of January and mid-February. These are known as year-end-paid-interest-statements. 1099-INT, 1099-OID, 1099-DIV are among the forms you’ll need to obtain. A sale of a property will require a 1099-S and should include dates of acquisition and records of the selling price.

After Tax Season and Need Misplaced Tax Returns

Tax returns are essential for various reasons. They may be instrumental for you to obtain a loan or mortgage. If you are renting an apartment or making financial applications, the lenders may require your previous year’s tax return. Whatever the reason, if you need this document but have misplaced it, you can easily request a transcript form the IRS. The process normally takes a few business days.  The IRS can send you previous tax returns and documents by filling out Form 4506.

In some cases, filing  tax returns late can result in costly fines. So be sure to do whatever is necessary to keep in line with Uncle Sam’s deadlines. If all these steps were taken and you get no results, what can you do? A tax professional  is usually very seasoned in this arena. They can better track down documents faster than you can. Even when it comes to getting a transcript from the IRS, many times they can send it via fax to a tax preparer or accountant. Tax preparers will sometimes charge a nominal fee, but consider that the service is much faster and efficient if they are used.

Missing Receipts for Itemized Deductions

For less evident documents like invoices and receipts from purchases, you can try to retrieve these via the seller. A car purchase, for example, can be an essential listing in a return, or even a donation to charity. These can help in getting tax write-offs. Itemized deductions can be anything from tuition, cash amounts donated to churches, schools and  other charitable organizations.

Having said all this, try to keep all your important files in a basket, drawer, or whatever you prefer,  so that they can be easily found. Remember that there’s a place for everything and despite unforeseen issues with companies failing to keep their end of the deal, just ensure you do your part to avoid delays. Taxes can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be with organization planning.

About Paul Gaulkin CPA

Paul Gaulkin is a Certified Public Accountant and enrolled with the U.S. Treasury to practice before the IRS. Mr. Gaulkin possesses unique technical knowledge in the process of securing relief for taxpayers nationwide with IRS and State tax problems. With an accounting degree from Florida International University, he is able to transform complex tax and accounting problems into easy to understand solutions.


Comments are closed.