Et tu, W-2? Replacing misplaced forms

Panicky phone calls to the Payroll department from employees who lost their original W-2s are about as predictable as the sun rising in the east. You need a strategy for dealing with the reissued W-2 process.

Separate requests for reissued W-2s from other requests by having employees submit paper or email request forms. The email subject line should read Reissued W-2 Request. Have a dedicated voice-mail extension if you allow employees to phone in requests.

Don’t provide reissued W-2s until employees personally verify and authenticate their requests in writing. Why: This prevents ex-spouses from forging signatures, impedes creditors who want to attach employees’ pay and thwarts identity thieves from obtaining employees’ tax information.

Release reissued W-2s to employees personally and have them sign for them. If employees can’t pick up their forms, overnight forms to them at their expense.

Always type REISSUED STATEMENT at the top of a reissued form.

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Release reissued W-2s once a week, on a day that’s convenient for you.

Charge employees a low but reasonable fee for reissued forms. Advantage: Requiring employees to pay may encourage them to be more careful next year. Critical: Charging low-income employees may violate federal or state wage-and-hour laws, if the fee causes their wages to fall below the statutory minimum wage.

Don’t file Copy A of a reissued form with the SSA.

Have tax extension form, Form 4868, available for employees who contact you on April 15.


SAMPLE FORM: Below, you’ll find a sample form employees can use to request a reissued W-2.


Click the image to download.