File Taxes Free Without a W2

By Cellina LaForey

  • Overview

    The IRS has a form for just about every situation a taxpayer may face. Whether your dog ate your W-2s or your employer went out of business, you can file your taxes for free without the actual W-2. As long as you follow the right steps and file the necessary forms on time, you won't have to worry about being penalized for not having your W-2s.
    File Taxes Free Without a W2
    • Step 1

      Attempt to get your W2. Though it is possible to file taxes for free without the form, it's best to have it. If you don't get your W2 by the end of January, contact your employer. If they are no longer in business, send a certified letter with a return-receipt request as proof you did everything in your power to get your form.
    • Step 2

      Contact the IRS to let them know you could not secure your W2. Send them a copy of the certified-letter receipt. The ball is now in their court to attempt to get the missing forms.

    • Step 3

      Visit the IRS website and download form 4852. It's free to download. The form is titled "Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099-$, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc." The title is very long, but the form is used as a substitute for your W-2s.
    • Step 4

      Compile your last year's earnings and tax information. Do the best you can to compile your tax and earnings information when completing form 4852. Try to locate your end-of-the-year pay stub to compile the necessary information.
    • Step 5

      File your taxes for free with the substitute W-2 using Free File. Visit the IRS website and access the Free File page. Use the search in the upper right-hand corner of the page and insert the words "Free File." If you qualify, you can file your taxes for free without a W-2.
      Preparing taxes
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Warning:
    • Free File is only available from mid-January until the April 15th tax deadline.

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