Tax Q & A: Late W-2


This daily tax season column publishes questions from readers and answers from local members of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Q: I filed my 1997 original tax form before the filing date (April 15, 1998). Since I worked numerous jobs throughout 1997, I assumed that I had received all my W-2s and sent them in with the original form. However, after April 15, 1998, I received one more W-2 form from an employer listing income that was not reported on my original form. My questions: How long do I have to file amended forms? Am I going to be stuck paying late fees and penalties?


A: Ultimately, you are the one responsible for reporting the correct income. If you don’t receive a W-2 form, you should report the income on your return and attach Form 4852 (Substitute for Form W-2).


If you filed the return by April 15, 1998, without the W-2 information, you have until April 15, 2001, to file an amended return. However, you are likely to receive a notice from the IRS before then if your employer submitted the W-2 to the government. The IRS notice will reflect the additional income, withholding and tax liability, if any. The IRS will charge interest on any money owed, starting from April 15, 1998 (the return’s original due date).


For more information on taxes and to see other questions and answers in this series, go to The Times’ Web site at To find a CPA, visit the California Society of CPAs at