If a payroll company didn’t pay me my entire salary for 2018, can I get a corrected W-2 and file my taxes without a penalty?

by William L. Stunkel, CPA | May 22, 2019


If a payroll company unintentionally didn’t pay me my entire salary for 2018, is it too late for them to pay and send me a corrected W-2? And would they get penalized for that, or will I? I have already requested an extension.

If you are the owner of the company, your company will be the one that the IRS, state, and local tax collectors assess penalties against for any payroll taxes that are paid late and any payroll tax returns that may have been filed late. You would need to work out with the payroll company how best to address the matter of any penalties that could arise from a course of action related to “back dating” payroll to show it as if it was paid in a prior period/year.

If you are not the owner of the company but are simply an employee, then the payroll company and the employer would be responsible for any penalties for the late payment of the payroll taxes. You would only be liable for any income tax owed on the money paid to you, and would simply be subject to the rules of paying personal income taxes and filing personal income tax returns. So, as long as you obtained an extension to file, and no taxes were due with the individual income tax return, there would be no penalty for filing the return once the W-2 was issued by the payroll company.

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Answered by: William L. Stunkel, CPA, is director of small-business services with Holsinger PC in Wexford, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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