Monday, January 24, 2011

Questions for the Tax Lady: January 24th, 2011

Check out the following new Questions for the Tax Lady answers and feel free to ask me questions through one of the links below. You can send me an email, direct message or @ reply, and I will do my best to get an answer for you!

Question: Roni, do I need to have my W-2 to file my tax return? I still have not yet received mine, what should I do if it never comes?

Answer: Employers generally have until January 31 to give you the W-2. If your W-2 is mailed to you, you might be waiting a week or two longer. If mid-February rolls around and you still don’t have your W-2, call your employer, see if there’s been a delay, or if they have a bad address for you.

If February 16 arrives and you still don’t have your W-2, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. They will ask you for:

  • your employer’s name and complete address,
  • employer ID number,
  • employer’s phone number,
  • your contact and taxpayer ID info, and finally
  • estimated wage amounts and federal income taxes withheld during the year.
All this information can be found on your paystubs, your best bet is to use the last paystub from 2010.

The IRS will use this information to prepare a Form 4852 Substitute for Missing Form W-2. You can use this form to complete your tax returns. This may delay the processing of your return for a bit, but will save you from the horrors of not having the proper documentation should the IRS request it. Remember, you have until April 18 to file your tax return this year.

Question: If I owe the IRS, do I have to mail them a check? Can I pay electronically using a credit card?

Answer: When you make tax payments, you can absolutely pay by credit card. The IRS uses a number of services to process credit and debit card payments. You can find all the options here. Fair warning: paying by credit or debit card involves fees. Debit card fees go up to $3.95 per transaction, and credit card convenience fees go up to 2.35% of the total amount being paid. Yes, that can be expensive, so consider whether the convenience of paying online is worth the extra expense.

If those fees have you running scared, consider this: those fees are still much less than late payment penalties. So, for those occasions when your options are: pay late, or pay online, take the hit and pay those convenience fees.

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