What can I do if my employer paid me in cash and taxed me all year but then didn’t pay it in or give me a W2?

My salary was $500 a week, of which I received $450. In small shops it’s actually common to be handed cash then a W2 at the end of the year. Only when he handed out W2 forms, I didn’t have one. Upon demanding this gets fixed, my employment was terminated.What do I do? And am I personally liable?

Asked on February 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You and your employer are both liable. You have to make sure you pay all your taxes, even amounts that you thought should have been withheld for you--if you don't pay your taxes, you could get hit with interest and penalties. But you can sue your employer to recover the money it took out of your pay but did not turn over to the IRS, and also any interest, penalties, or other costs your incur due to their wrongdoing. You may also have a wrongful termination claim, for being fired for asking about your taxes (i.e. for inquiring into a wrongful or criminal act). It would make sense for you to consult with an employment law attorney or a tax attorney about the situation. Many lawyers will provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case; you can ask about this before making an appointment.

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