When Are W2s Sent Out: IRS and Employer Deadline Explained

Tax season can be a stressful time for many people, and one of the most important documents to keep an eye out for is your W2 form. This document contains crucial information about your employee income and taxes withheld throughout the year. However, with so much going on during tax season, it’s not always clear when you should expect to receive this important form in the mail or from your employer. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about when W2s are sent out, including the IRS and employer deadlines, what happens if you don’t receive your W2, and more. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of W2s.



Tax season can be a stressful time for many Americans, with numerous forms and documents to keep track of. One such document is the W2 form, which reports an employee’s income and taxes withheld throughout the year. But when are these W2s sent out, and what do you need to know about them? In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about when W2s are sent out, including important deadlines and what to do if you don’t receive your form. Whether you’re a first-time filer or a seasoned tax veteran, read on to learn more about this essential tax document and how to stay on top of your tax game.

What is a W2?

Why is the W2 Important?

The W2 form plays a vital role in the tax season for both employees and employers. As an employee, it’s important to understand why the W2 is important to ensure that you file your tax return accurately and avoid any potential tax liability.

Firstly, the W2 form reports your total income earned throughout the year and the amount of federal, state, and Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks. This information is crucial for calculating your tax liability or refund when filing your tax return. Without accurate information on your W2, you may end up underpaying or overpaying taxes, which can result in penalties and fines from the IRS.

Moreover, the W2 form also provides detailed information on other compensation such as tips, bonuses, and retirement plan contributions. These amounts can impact your taxable income and deductions, leading to significant differences in your tax return.

In addition, the W2 form serves as proof of income, which can be required for various purposes such as applying for a loan or renting a property. Having an accurate and up-to-date W2 form can help you avoid any delays or rejection in these processes.

In conclusion, the W2 form is essential for accurately reporting your income and taxes, avoiding tax liability or penalties, and providing proof of income for various purposes. It’s crucial for employees to ensure that their W2 form is accurate and up-to-date to avoid any potential issues during the tax season.

What Information is on the W2 Form?

The W2 form is an important document that employees receive from their employers every year. It provides a summary of their earnings, taxes withheld, and other vital information that’s needed for preparing tax returns.

One of the key pieces of information on the W2 form is wages. This includes all the money you earned from your employer during the year, including salary, tips, bonuses, and commissions. It’s important to note that wages don’t include things like reimbursements for work-related expenses or benefits.

Another crucial piece of information on the W2 form is withholding tax. This is the amount of money that your employer withheld from your paycheck throughout the year to cover your federal and state income taxes. The amount of withholding tax depends on your income, filing status, and other factors.

In addition to withholding tax, the W2 also lists the Social Security tax that was withheld from your pay. Social Security tax is used to fund the Social Security program, which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to eligible individuals. The rate of Social Security tax is a fixed percentage of your wages, up to a certain limit.

Overall, the W2 form provides a comprehensive snapshot of your income and taxes for the year. By carefully reviewing this document, you can ensure that your tax return is accurate and complete, and avoid potential penalties or audits from the IRS.

When are W2s Sent Out?

IRS Deadline for Employers

IRS Deadline for Employers

Every year, employers must provide their employees with a W2 form that shows the total amount of money earned and taxes paid throughout the previous year. However, it’s not just a matter of sending out the forms whenever they want. The IRS has strict deadlines that all employers must follow or face penalties.

The deadline for employers to send out W2s is January 31st. This means that by this date, employees should have received their W2 form from their employer. If an employer fails to meet this deadline, they may face a penalty from the IRS.

But what if an employer has a large number of employees and manually preparing and mailing W2 forms seems like a daunting task? Well, the good news is that there’s an electronic filing option available. By choosing this option, employers can avoid the hassle of paper-based filing and also ensure that the W2s are delivered on time.

It’s important to note that electronic filing has its own deadline under the law. Employers who choose to file electronically have until March 31st to submit W2 forms. Filing electronically comes with several benefits, including reducing errors and saving time compared to manual preparation and mailing. Moreover, it’s more eco-friendly, which is great for our planet.

In conclusion, employers have a legal obligation to provide W2 forms to their employees, and it’s essential that they adhere to the IRS’s strict deadlines. January 31st is the final deadline for employers to mail out paper W2s, while those filing electronically have until March 31st to submit their forms. Regardless of the method used, employers must ensure that their employees receive their W2 forms on time to avoid penalties and ensure compliance with tax laws.

Employer Deadline for Employees

The employer deadline for employees to receive their W2 forms is February 1st. Employers are required by law to provide their employees with their W2s on or before this date. The most common method of delivery is through postal mail.

While some employers may choose to send W2s electronically, they must first obtain consent from their employees. If an employee does not consent to receiving an electronic copy of their W2, then the employer must provide a physical copy via postal mail.

It is important for employees to keep track of their W2 forms and ensure that they receive them in a timely manner. If an employee has not received their W2 by mid-February, they should contact their employer and inquire about the status of their form.

It is recommended that employees review their W2 forms carefully to ensure that the information is accurate and matches their records. Any discrepancies should be reported to the employer immediately.

In summary, the employer deadline for employees to receive their W2 forms is February 1st. Employers are required to provide these forms via postal mail unless the employee consents to receiving an electronic copy. Employees should keep track of their W2s and review them carefully for accuracy.

What Happens if You Don’t Receive Your W2?

If you didn’t receive your W2 form by the deadline, don’t panic. But, you should take action immediately to avoid any penalties or delays in filing your tax return. Here’s what you need to know about what happens if you don’t receive your W2.

Firstly, contact your employer and ask them to send a copy of your W2. They may have sent it to the wrong address or had a delay in processing it. If your employer can’t provide you with a copy, or if they refuse, then you can reach out to the IRS for assistance.

The IRS allows you to use their W2 hotline to report that you haven’t received your W2 yet. They will then contact your employer on your behalf and ask for a copy of your W2. You can also file your taxes by using Form 4852, which is a substitute for the W2 form. However, this form requires you to estimate your earnings and taxes paid, so make sure to double-check all the information before submitting.

If you still can’t obtain your W2, you might want to consider requesting a W2 replacement from the IRS. To do so, you’ll need to provide information such as your name, address, Social Security number, and contact information for your employer. The IRS will then send a letter to your employer requesting them to provide a copy of your W2.

In summary, not receiving your W2 form can be stressful, but there are several steps you can take to remedy the situation. Remember to act quickly and keep accurate records of all your correspondence. By doing so, you can ensure that you file your taxes accurately and timely.


In conclusion, understanding when W2s are sent out is crucial for employees and employers alike. The W2 form contains vital information about an employee’s income and taxes withheld, which is necessary for filing accurate tax returns. Employers must meet strict IRS deadlines to avoid penalties, and employees should contact their employer or the IRS if they don’t receive their W2 by February 14th.

It’s also important to note that W2s aren’t the only tax form to look out for during tax season. Freelancers, independent contractors, and those who receive income from sources other than employment may need to file different forms, such as a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC.

By staying informed and organized during tax season, individuals can avoid missed deadlines, incorrect tax returns, and unnecessary stress. Remember to keep track of all income and tax documents throughout the year, and seek professional help if needed.

In short, while waiting for your W2 might be a bit frustrating, it’s essential to ensure you are prepared to file your taxes accurately and on time.
As tax season approaches, receiving your W2 form is crucial in accurately filing your taxes and avoiding potential penalties. Understanding when your employer is required to send out your W2 can help you prepare in advance, giving you ample time to contact your employer or the IRS if necessary. Remember, if you do not receive your W2 by early February, don’t panic – simply reach out to your employer for a replacement or contact the IRS for assistance. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free tax season.

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