It Happens Every Year: Employees Misplace Their W-2s — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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It Happens Every Year: Employees Misplace Their W-2s

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A round this time of year, employees are filing their taxes and some are realizing that they can't find their W-2 form that you provided to them weeks ago. If you didn't send W-2s electronically, set up a process for handling requests to reissue W-2s.


Your Convenience

You don't have to let employees' panic become your stress.

  • Require employees to submit requests via a formal paper or e-mail request form, or set up a dedicated voice-mail extension, which you can attend to at your convenience.

  • Let employees know the timeframe for processing requests, such as within five business days or on Thursday afternoons, so they aren't bombarding you with "is it done yet?" phone calls.

  • Charge a nominal fee (e.g., $5) for reissued forms to encourage employees to be more careful next year. Warning: If the fee causes an employee's wages to drop below minimum wage, federal or state wage/hour laws may be violated.

Employees' Protection

To protect employees from identity thieves, creditors, ex-spouses, etc., take these precautions.

  • Take requests from employees only. Do not act on a voice-mail message left by a spouse, for example.

  • Verify the request with the employee, if necessary.

  • Require employees to personally pick up the reissued W-2 and have them sign off on it, or mail it (at their expense). Do not send by fax or unsecured e-mail.

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