What to Do With Multiple W-2 Forms From Different Employers?
October 03, 2023
Receiving multiple W-2 forms from different employers presents a challenge, primarily in terms of understanding the scope of your obligations and rights when acquiring all your tax forms.
It is not surprising to encounter hurdles when requesting your W-2 forms, such as contacting an unresponsive and uncooperative employer, identifying errors in your Form W-2, or missing the IRS tax deadline.
If you are stressed over how you can better manage all your W-2 forms from all your employers, then this article will serve as your guide.
- An employee may have multiple W-2 forms from different employers, but they must file all W-2 forms at once. The IRS does not accept tax returns filed more than once.
- Receiving multiple W-2 forms from a single employer happens when the employer changes ownership or switches to a different payroll service provider.
- Employers must send W-2 forms to all employees on or before January 31 of each year. After January 31, employers have until February 15 to fulfill all remaining W-2 forms.
- The typical errors coupled with handling multiple W-2 forms are missing W-2 forms, incorrect employee information, duplicate information, issuing W-2 forms late, and issuing fake tax forms.
4 Reasons for Receiving Multiple W-2 Forms
It is possible for an employee or taxpayer to have multiple W-2 forms from different employers. After all, employers are required to issue Wage and Tax Statement forms to each employee who worked for them within the year by the 31st of January of the following year.
The following are the most common reasons why an individual can have multiple W-2 forms:
#1. Having More Than One Job
One of the most common reasons why an individual taxpayer may have multiple W-2 forms is because they are working for multiple employers.
Whether an employee works full-time, part-time, or a combination of both on each of their working gigs, they must secure a copy of their W-2 forms from all of their employers. In doing so, they can report all sources of their income during tax filing season.
#2. Changing Jobs Throughout the Year
If you change jobs within the year, expect to receive more than one W-2 form by January 31st. You must secure one W-2 form from your last employer and another form from your current employer.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked for your previous employer for only a couple of months. Employers must prepare all the necessary paperwork for new hires related to their employment, and that includes their employment contract, information about their compensation, and their tax forms.
#3. Employer Changed Ownership
Employers who recently changed ownership of their business are required to transfer all employee information to the new owner for transparency and security purposes.
The new business owner must oblige in issuing updated W-2 forms to their employees since the wages and withheld taxes on each employee’s salary are integral to reporting the business’s income and tax obligations to the IRS.
#4. Employer Changed Their Payroll Provider
Changing payroll providers entails gathering and providing all essential company information needed to use and maximize the payroll provider’s services.
This is to ensure that all details about the company, particularly those involving payroll liabilities and expenses, are maintained and carried over to the new payroll software provider.
The said information includes employee and business information, payroll registers, quarterlypayroll tax returns for the current year, and, of course, all employee W-2 forms.
How to File Taxes With Multiple W-2 Forms
To file multiple W-2 forms from different employers or a single employer, keep in mind the following steps:
- Gather all W-2 forms from all of your employers. If you have multiple jobs, it is important to acquire W-2 forms from all of your employers. Employers have until the 31st of January or the 15th of February to issue all Forms W-2 to each of their workers. Keep a close eye on the said deadlines and check alternative options to get your W-2 forms in case you feel that your employer won’t be able to send your tax form before the due date.
- Contact your previous and current employers. You can reach out to your previous and current employers in advance to give them a heads-up about your Form W-2. Prepare a request email and specify whether you want them to send your tax forms electronically or by mail. Make sure to provide your updated email or mailing address. Contact the IRS toll-free hotline at 1-800-829-1040 if any of your employers refuse to comply with your request for no valid reason.
- Review the information on all your W-2 forms. Check that all information on your Form W-2, such as your Employee Identification Number (EIN) and mailing address, is correct. If you received more than one W-2 form from a single employer, compare the information across all the forms and consolidate them if the information is similar. At the end of the day, you are required to file your tax return once for all of your W-2 forms. Verifying all information and eliminating duplicate wage and tax details from the same employer saves you time and trouble.
- Use tax software or your previous pay stubs. Reporting multiple income sources to the IRS can be quite tedious. You can use tax software to save more time and ensure accurate reporting of your tax returns. In the event that you were unable to secure all of your W-2 forms, you can use your last set of pay stubs or paychecks as an alternative to file taxes.
4 Common Issues When Dealing With Multiple W-2 Forms
The most common issues when dealing with multiple W-2 forms from different employers are as follows:
#1. Missing W-2 Forms
Employers that lack structure and organization in their human resources and payroll departments may end up misplacing their employee’s W-2 forms and other important business documents.
If you misplaced your W-2 form, inform your employer right away. Otherwise, if your employer displaced or lost your tax form and you end up missing the tax deadline, you can file for a tax extension through the IRS Free File Program.
#2. Incorrect Information
Even if you received multiple W-2 forms from different employers in a timely manner, that does not completely eliminate the possibility of additional paperwork. This is true if you find errors in the information declared on one or more W-2 forms.
Some of the most typical W-2 form mistakes include incorrect employee names, Employee Identification Numbers, addresses, and even mistakes in calculating their wages, deductions, and taxes.
Contact your employer if you find any mistakes in your Form W-2 so they can amend the errors ahead of time. If you recently moved or changed your address, you can simply submit your Form W-2 with a Form 1040 containing your latest mailing address.
#3. Duplicate Information
Duplicate information on multiple W-2 forms usually happens if a single employer issues multiple Wages and Tax Statements to a single employee.
If the information on both W-2 forms is similar, inform your employer. You can either keep the other copy or only include one form when reporting all your income and taxes to the IRS.
#4. W-2 Forms Issued Late
Ideally, employers must strictly abide by the deadlines provided by the IRS when it comes to issuing employee W-2 forms. The deadline for issuing Form W-2 is January 31st of each year.
Whether you are waiting for a single form from a single employer or multiple W-2 forms from different employers, you must report your late W-2 forms to the IRS.
Employers are subject to face penalties for every W-2 form they fail to issue on time. Their penalties will also be based on the number of days that have passed since your employer missed the deadline.
If, after February 15, you still have not received your W-2 forms, file a report with the IRS, and the IRS will send a letter to your employer mandating them to furnish your Form W-2 within 10 days of receiving the said letter.
How to Organize Your Multiple W-2 Forms
Organizing multiple W-2 forms from different employers can be challenging and time-consuming. When not managed properly, you end up misplacing your forms or reporting incomplete earnings and income tax information to the IRS.
That said, here are some pro tips to keep in mind to file your W-2 forms in a seamless and error-free manner:
- Take note of all the important deadlines. Mark your calendar every year with all the necessary tax deadlines. These deadlines include the deadline for filing your taxes and receiving multiple W-2 forms from all your employers. By knowing the different tax due dates, you can prepare in advance and assess your options to avoid missing your deadlines.
- Know how to reach all your employers. Always keep your employers’ respective contact information in your notes. This will come in handy when you need to send reminders to send your tax forms. In return, you must also keep your communication lines open at all times and ensure that you provide your updated mobile number or email address to your employers.
- Specify how you want to receive your Form W-2. Most of the time, missing W-2 forms are the result of forms sent to the wrong address. When requesting copies of your tax forms—especially multiple W-2 forms from different employers—specify whether you want the documents sent to your mailing or email address. Doing so minimizes confusion on your employer’s part and ensures your tax documents do not get lost in the mail.
- Update your tax information as needed. If you got married, widowed, or received a salary increase within the year, it is a must to update your tax information. Updating your tax bracket is a must to ensure all your W-2 forms reflect correct tax withholding information that’s proportionate to your salary. If you recently got married, you must update your filing status accordingly.
How to Review Your Multiple W-2 Forms and Check for Accuracy
When reviewing the accuracy of the information on multiple W-2 forms, there are key details to keep a close eye on, such as:
- Personal information. Your first name and surname must be spelled correctly. Also, your address, employee number, Social Security number, and contact information must be up-to-date.
- Gross and net wages. You must also have a copy of your employment contract and compensation details from all your employers. Your contract and compensation information will show your regular rates and help you calculate the correct gross and net amount you must receive every payday.
- Withholding amounts. When it comes to reviewing the amounts withheld from your income to pay for federal, state, and local taxes, always check your filing status and tax bracket. Your filing status and tax brackets give you an estimate of the percentage or amount that your employer may deduct from your regular salary.
- Voluntary deductions. Your voluntary deductions include your contributions to employer-sponsored retirement, life, and health insurance premiums. Since you are receiving multiple W-2 forms from different employers, you can potentially be included in most, if not all, of your employers’ insurance or pension schemes. Make it a point to discuss your contributions and qualifications for any insurance premiums offered by each of your employers. Remember, you also have the option to join or exclude yourself from any pension scheme.
- Non-taxable payments. Non-taxable payments refer to monetary payments in your income that are not subject to any taxation by the federal, state, or local government. Examples of non-taxable payments are child support, disability wages, cash rebates, and inheritance. It is essential to ensure that your non-taxable payments are not included in your calculated taxable earnings, especially when dealing with multiple W-2 forms from different employers. Otherwise, it will significantly change the taxable amount declared on your W-2 forms.
5 Best Practices For Dealing With Multiple W-2 Forms
Now that you know how to organize your W-2 forms and verify the accuracy of information on your tax documents, below are additional best practices for dealing with multiple W-2 forms:
Consider Using a W-2 Form Generator
Instead of waiting for all employers to issue your tax forms, you can create your own W-2 form. You can input the correct information into the W-2 generator, which uses a template with all the important fields in a typical W-2 form, and it only takes minutes to fill out and create the form.
Understand Withholding Amounts
Your employer determines the withholding amount on your salary based on how much income you make, your filing status, the total withholding allowances you have claimed, and any additional withholding you requested to be deducted from your payslip.
You must also review your tax withholding periodically or if any of the following changes occur:
- Significant life changes. You got married, divorced, had children, adopted a child, bought a house, retired, or filed for bankruptcy. Your status in life affects your tax withholdings in such a way that your filing status and number of dependents may make you eligible for specific tax credits or subject to a higher percentage of taxes.
- Amended tax laws. There may be changes or amendments to the existing taxation laws. Stay well-informed of these changes to understand how the new laws will affect your rights and obligations as a taxpayer.
Find Alternative IRS Tax Forms You Can Use
Examples of alternative IRS forms that may come in handy when filing multiple W-2 forms from different employers include Form 4852 or the substitute W-2, Form 1040-X for filing amended tax returns, and Form SS-8 for reporting the misclassification of your employment status.
Keep an Eye Out for Fake W-2 Forms
It can be tricky to verify the legitimacy of every employer you work for. At times, you are so busy earning a living that the question of whether your employers are operating within lawful restrictions may not always be a top priority.
However, you may end up receiving a fake W-2 form if you are not careful. Filing your taxes using falsified W-2 forms and other legal documents will get you into serious trouble. You may face penalties and even imprisonment if you do not report the fake forms immediately.
Consult a Tax Professional
Seek the assistance of a tax professional or a tax consultant for additional guidance on all things taxes. You may even get additional tips on how to manage all your W-2 forms and tax credits, particularly if you have unique working arrangements for each employer.
Consider Using a W-2 Form Generator
If waiting for all employers to issue your tax forms is too time consuming, you can create your own W-2 form instead. The W-2 generator uses a template with all the important fields in a typical W-2 form, and it takes minutes to fill out and create a Form W-2.
Filing multiple W-2 forms from different employers can be a breeze as long as you know what to do to acquire your tax documents. At the same time, you must be aware of the countermeasures you can take to avoid getting penalized for late or missing W-2 forms.
Don’t forget to bookmark this article to serve as your reference once tax season is around the corner.
Multiple W-2 Forms FAQ
#1. Can you get two W-2 forms from the same employer?
Yes, you can get two or more W-2 forms from the same employer if your employer changes the proprietorship of the business. Receiving two or more W-2 forms is also common if you work for an employment agency.
#2. Can you file two tax returns separately?
No, you cannot file two tax returns separately, even when you have multiple W-2 forms. The IRS will reject your second tax return and consequently extend the time it takes for you to receive your returns.
#3. How to file two W-2 forms from different employers?
To file two W-2 forms from different employers, first, you must secure your Wage and Tax Statements from both employers. Once you have secured your forms, you can report wages and tax information from each employer, including any other income sources you may have.
#4. If I have two W-2 forms, do I add them together?
Yes, you can add together or combine W-2 forms as long as both forms contain the same federal information despite declaring different state details.
#5. What to do if you have 3 W-2 forms from the same employer?
If you receive three W-2 forms from the same employer, first check whether all three forms contain identical information. If so, then you only need to report one form and keep the remaining or discard them securely.
However, it is also possible to receive more than one W-2 form from the same employer.
An example is if you have a unique work arrangement, such as taking on different job roles with different pay scales or working a full-time post at your employer’s main branch while fulfilling a part-time role in a local branch or office.
#6. What to do if your employer gives you an incorrect W-2 form?
If your employer gives you an incorrect W-2 form, bring this to their attention immediately so they can amend the mistakes before the tax filing deadline. Otherwise, you can reach out to the IRS hotline at 800-829-1040.