If tax time leaves you feeling stressed every year, you’re among many. The American Psychological Association says that money is the leading cause of stress for most Americans.
Gathering all your necessary documents is a small but very important part of the tax filing process. But you could misplace W-2s or never even receive them from your employer.
What can you do in these instances? Can you use your last pay stub to file taxes?
We’ll help you understand when and how you can use this document for tax purposes.
Can You Use Your Last Pay Stub to File Taxes?
If you’re asking yourself if it’s possible to file a tax return with your last pay stub, the answer is yes—when you electronically file your tax return.
Your final paycheck of the year includes most of the information you’ll need for tax purposes. This includes how much you’ve earned, taxes withheld, as well as income tax information.
Limitations on Using a Paycheck for Tax Filling
The biggest limitation to using your last pay stub for tax filing is that you won’t be able to work with an accountant. An accountant who files on your behalf will need to submit a W-2 and sign off on the tax return. If there’s an error, both your preparer and you can be held accountable for any errors.
But you can easily do your taxes on your own with your last pay stub using free e-filing services from the IRS or a commercial vendor.
The other caveat is that your last pay stub won’t contain all the details you’ll need to include when you file. You’ll need your employer’s official address and employee identification number. Since you’ll be using a paycheck instead of a W-2, you’ll also need to fill out a special form, Form 4852, which serves as a substitute document.
How to Use Your Last Pay Stub as a W-2
These aren’t significant obstacles to using your last pay stub in lieu of a W-2. But you can take care to do it in the most careful and thorough way possible.
Since your pay stub won’t have all the details you need for your return, you can use online tools to generate all of that. ThePayStubs website makes populating this information easy with just a few clicks.
Using your final pay stub from your employer is something you should consider as a last resort when filing taxes. Your employer is required to send you a W-2 by January 31 of the tax filing year.
If you haven’t received your W-2 by then, you could follow up with your employer to try to resolve it. And if you still don’t receive it by February 14, you may opt to use your last pay stub and contact the IRS about your situation.
Get More Tax Filing and Financial Advice
We hope this helps you better understand the answer to the question, “Can you use your last pay stub to file taxes?” Please keep browsing our blog for more personal finance tips during tax season and throughout the year.