IRS TAX TIPS
Missing W-2 form
If you worked as an employee last year, your employer must give you a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. This form shows the amount of wages you received for the year and the taxes withheld from those wages. It’s important that you use this form to help make sure you file a complete and accurate tax return.
Most employers give Forms W-2 to their workers by Jan. 31. If you haven’t received yours by mid-February, here’s what you should do:
1. Contact your employer. You should first ask your employer to give you a copy of your W-2. You’ll also need this form from any former employer you worked for during the year. If employers send the form to you, be sure they have your correct address.
2. Contact the IRS. If you exhaust your options with your employer and you have not received your W-2, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. You’ll need the following when you call:
Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;
Your employer’s name, address and phone number;
The dates you worked for the employer; and
An estimate of the amount of wages you were paid and federal income tax withheld in 2013. If possible, you can use your final pay stub to figure these amounts.
3. File on time. Your tax return is due by April 15, 2014. If you don’t get your W-2 in time to file, use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Estimate your wages and withheld taxes as accurately as you can. The IRS may delay processing your return while it verifies your information.
If you need more time, you can apply for a six-month extension to file your federal tax return. The easiest way to apply is to visit IRS.gov and use IRS Free File to e-file the extension. You can also mail Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Make sure you file your request by midnight on April 15.
You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.
The Child Tax Credit
If you have a child under age 17, the Child Tax Credit may save you money at tax time. Here are some key facts the IRS wants you to know about the credit.
Amount. The non-refundable Child Tax Credit may help cut your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claim on your tax return.
Qualifications. A child must pass seven tests to qualify for this credit:
1. Age test. The child was under age 17 at the end of 2013.
2. Relationship test. The child is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister. A child can also be a descendant of any of these persons. For example, your grandchild, niece or nephew will meet this test. Adopted children also qualify. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
3. Support test. The child did not provide more than half of his or her own support for 2013.
4. Dependent test. You claim the child as a dependent on your 2013 federal income tax return.
5. Joint return test. A married child can’t file a joint return with their spouse they are filing jointly only to claim a tax refund.
6. Citizenship test. The child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien. For more see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
7. Residence test. In most cases, the child must have lived with you for more than half of 2013.
Limitations. Your filing status and income may reduce or eliminate the credit.
Additional Child Tax Credit. If you get less than the full Child Tax Credit, you may qualify for the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit. This means you could get a refund even if you owe no tax.
Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Child Tax Credit, make sure to check whether you must file Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your return. If you qualify to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, you must complete and attach Schedule 8812.
Interactive Tax Assistant Tool. You can use the ITA tool at IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. The tool can answer many of your tax questions.