What happens if you forget to mail your W-2 forms to the IRS?

No adverse action will be taken against you if you forget to mail your W-2 forms to the IRS as long as you submit the forgotten tax documents when the IRS requests them. You can expect to receive a notice from the IRS asking for any missing or additional tax documents a few weeks after sending in your return. Learn more about tax law in our legal guide below.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Forgetting to send tax documents with a tax return is a common occurrence. You can rest assured that no adverse action will be taken against you for forgetting to attach a W-2 form or other forms as long as you submit the forgotten tax documents when the IRS requests them. Generally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers most tax returns filed as valid and may or may not require taxpayers to submit additional tax documents.

If you file your tax return electronically, you do not need to send your W-2 form to the IRS, but you do need to provide a copy to the IRS e-file provider before sending it electronically. 

When will I Receive a Notice from the IRS?

You can expect to receive a notice from the IRS requesting any missing or additional or missing tax documents a few weeks after sending in your return. This notice will contain a barcode and specific instructions on how to send in the missing documents you forgot to attach with the original tax return. The IRS understands that taxpayers, especially those who prepare their own tax returns without professional assistance, frequently forget to attach tax documents. Because of this, the IRS has a procedure that it follows and you can rest assured that they will contact you to obtain the necessary tax documents.

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Getting Help

If you are preparing your tax return for the first time and you are unsure about what documents to submit to the IRS, it’s best to contact the IRS, a tax accountant, or even a tax attorney for help. Call 1-800-829-1040 to speak to a live IRS representative Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

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