Is there a rule from the IRS that disallows e-filing a tax return using one’s last pay stub rather than a W-2?

Is there a rule from the IRS that disallows e-filing a tax return using one’s last pay stub rather than a W-2?

by Christopher C. Humes, CPA | Sep 05, 2019

I know that the IRS isn't happy when I e-file my return using my last pay stub, but I don't know if it's against the rules or not. Where can I find a specific rule stating if I can/can't do it?

I understand from your question that you are electronically filing a return using the information from your last pay stub from the calendar year (apparently before you receive your Form W-2 from your employer). This is not a problem so long as the amounts that you use from your final pay stub to file your income tax return each year ultimately match the amounts reported on the W-2 from your employer.   

Sometimes employees do not receive a W-2 from their employer. This can occur when the employee moves and the employer does not have the new address, or the employer runs into financial difficulties or other circumstances and is late completing its employees’ W-2s.  In this case, the correct way to handle this is for the taxpayer to complete and submit IRS Form 4852, which is a substitute for Form W-2 or Form 1099-R. This and other tax forms can be found on the IRS’s website.

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Answered by: Christopher C. Humes, CPA, is a senior manager with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP in Wormleysburg, 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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