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.