Like many Americans, you probably anxiously await the arrival of your Form W-2. This is, for some taxpayers, the only document they need to file their taxes and get their refund as soon as possible. You still should double-check your Form W-2 for accuracy, particularly to make sure all income tax withheld from you is listed correctly. If you find errors, you must have them corrected to ensure that you get credit for all of your taxes withheld.
Confirm Any Errors
If you suspect an error on your Form W-2, confirm the error by adding up all of your take-home pay, gross pay and tax withheld for the year. To do this, you will need all of your pay stubs, or be able to obtain copies of all of your pay stubs. Add up your federal, state and local income tax withholding if applicable. Confirm the error on your W-2 by comparing the totals on your W-2 and from your records.
Notify Your Payroll Department
When you discover an error, notify your company's payroll department immediately about the error. You may need to show the payroll department the results of your calculations, and why you believe it made the error. The payroll department will probably conduct its own audit of your payroll records to determine whether it made a mistake in reporting.
Your employer must correct the W-2 that was filed incorrectly, which it does by filing a Form W-2c, and possibly a W-3c for transmitting the corrected form to the IRS. The W-2c has two series of columns. The first column is for the employer to enter the information as it appeared on the initial tax return, and the second column is for your employer's payroll department to enter the corrected amount as it should have been entered the first time. Your employer then sends the corrected form to the IRS, then you should receive a corrected form.
File Your Taxes
With the corrected information in hand, you can now file your income taxes for the year. It is much easier to file your income taxes using the corrected form, than to go back and file an amended form later to correct the information. However, if you have already filed your income tax return, you can use Form 1040X to amend your return, and either collect a bigger refund, or pay the taxes due.
Craig Woodman began writing professionally in 2007. Woodman's articles have been published in "Professional Distributor" magazine and in various online publications. He has written extensively on automotive issues, business, personal finance and recreational vehicles. Woodman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in finance through online education.