How to File Taxes With Last Paystub

Tamsen Butler
Person calculating taxes

The Internal Revenue Service requires employers and financial institutions to issue W-2 and 1099-R forms in time for those taxpayers to figure out their taxes and file, but if you can't wait for your W-2 or 1099-R (or if you aren't sent one), you can file using IRS Form 4852 and the last paystub from the previous year as a substitute.

Form 4852

The IRS Form 4852 is appropriate for instances when no W-2 or 1099-R arrives, or if the forms that arrive are incorrect. The IRS requests this form only be used after unsuccessful attempts to retrieve your W-2 or 1099-R; the IRS will actually assist taxpayers in getting their tax forms from employers or financial institutions if the forms haven't arrived by the month of February. In other words, the Form 4852 is not designed to provide taxpayers the opportunity to get their refunds quicker, but is the alternative means to file when forms aren't provided in a timely manner.

Potential Problems

Your last paystub may not have all the information needed for filing taxes, says TurboTax. Rushing to do your taxes in an attempt to get your hands on your tax return quicker may not even be feasible, as tax season (the period in which the IRS will process refunds) isn't typically until late in January. By this time, you will have likely already received your forms from your employer. Further, if you file your taxes with Form 4852 and your paystub but later receive the tax forms and the amounts are different from what you filed, you will must file an amended tax return with an IRS Form 1040X.

Completing Form 4852

Use the Year-to-Date (YTD) information on your paystub to fill out this form.

Personal Information

The top of Form 4852 requires your personal information including:

  • Your full name
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your address

Explanation for Form 4852

In the next section, you state what year the tax form is for - this is typically the previous year unless you're filing back taxes. You also must certify in this section you were either unable to get tax forms from your employer or financial institution or that you received incorrect forms. This section also requires you certify that you contacted the IRS prior to filing to notify them of this problem.

Information From Paystub

Carefully input the information from your paystub into the bottom half of Form 4852. First you must input the name, address, and Tax ID number (if known) for your employer. Next, add the remaining information from your paystub, noting the top section is for employees who should receive W-2 forms and the second section is for taxpayers who should receive a 1099-R. The second section for 1099-R shouldn't be filled out if you are simply missing a W-2 and have no 1099-R forms. In absence of a W-2, input this information:

  • Wages, tips, and other compensation
  • Social Security wages
  • Medicare wages and tips
  • Social Security tips
  • Federal Income tax withheld
  • State income tax withheld
  • Local income tax withheld
  • Social Security tax withheld
  • Medicare tax withheld

Certifying Your Information

Beneath the wages and taxes information, you must provide an explanation of how you arrived at the amounts listed above. This can be a statement as simple as, "Amounts taken from final paystub of (tax year)." Before signing the form, you must also detail the efforts you made to obtain the W-2 from your employer.

Sign and Send

It's important to note that the IRS will not accept Form 4852 electronically; it must be mailed. Include the form with the rest of your tax documents. Consult with a tax professional if you have further questions regarding filing with a Form 4852.

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How to File Taxes With Last Paystub