» Easy cures for the ‘missing’ tax form blues

Easy cures for the ‘missing’ tax form blues

January 29, 2009 by Carol Katarsky
Posted in: 1099s, Best practices, Communication, In this week's e-newsletter, Internal controls, Latest news & views, Tax compliance

Once you send out your W-2s and 1099s you can be sure of one thing: calls from people who “lost” theirs and need you to send a duplicate. You can’t organize vendors’ and employees’ offices for them, but there are a few steps you can take to minimize your own hassles in dealing with these missing-in-action documents.

Keep these tips in mind to minimize your extra work — and make sure you’re covered if IRS has any questions about what you sent when:

  • When sending W-2s and 1099s, make a copy of the postmarked envelopes for your files. It shows that you sent the documents on time and confirms that you had the right address from the start.
  • If a form is returned by the postal service, keep it in the original envelope. If the employee or vendor provides you with a new address, you can merely send the entire package in a new envelope. If you don’t hear from them, hold the docs for 4 years — to show any future auditor that you did your required filing.
  • For 1099s that need to be reissued, there’s a check box to indicate if it’s a duplicate or a correction. For W-2s, you’ll need to write “reissued statement” in the upper-right corner.

Bonus: If you have a lot of requests for duplicate W-2s or 1099s, consider this time-saver. IRS allows you to charge a nominal fee, say $5 or so, to reissue lost forms. You’d be amazed how many “lost” documents are found once people realize they’ll have to pay for a new copy.

Just be sure the document was actually lost or misplaced. You can’t charge for a duplicate if the person says he or she never received the original.

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