Employee asks for advice on obtaining a W-2 form to file a tax return

DEAR SUN SPOTS: What can a Maine employee do to receive their W-2? It seems that my employer is in no rush to give us one, nor does he intend to. What recourse do we have? — No name, no city

TO RESPOND: Well, that’s not good. I hope you have informed your employer that you are waiting for this form to be able to do your taxes. Does your workplace have a human resources department or at least someone who handles payroll? If so, contact them.

Federal law requires all employers to send employees W-2 slips, regardless of low income or low wages. These W-2 statements can be sent in paper or digital form and must be given to employees by January 31 of each year. Employers must also file a copy of employees’ W-2s with the IRS.

Failure to submit W-2 forms in a timely manner can result in significant fines for a business and those fines are hefty.

If you find yourself in February without your W-2, it’s time to get the IRS involved. If your efforts to get a copy from your employer are unsuccessful, call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.

For this call, you will need your name, address, phone number and social security number; the name, address and telephone number of your employer; the dates you worked for the employer; and an estimate of your salaries and federal income tax accepted last year. Your last pay stub for the tax year will contain these amounts.

With this information, the IRS will contact your workplace about the missing tax document.

You can file without the W-2 as a last resort, but this will slow down the processing of your return because the information you provide must be verified by the IRS with your employer.

This is also an option for those whose employer has gone out of business and you cannot track them down to apply for your W-2. In this case, you can submit a Form 4852, replace Form W-2, Wage and Tax Return, with your return. This document asks you to estimate your wages and taxes withheld last year. Again, your final pay stub can help provide these numbers.

What pain! Hopefully all you have to do is nudge your boss or the payroll department again and it will all be behind you. Let us know what happens.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I wonder if you or your readers might have a recipe for baked peas (not pea soup) – more like baked beans. My mother used to make it but she died and we don’t have her recipe. They were very good and we would like to try to make them. Thanks for any help you can give me. — No name, no city

TO RESPOND: I make this request to all the cooks in Sun Spots Land. The dish looks vaguely familiar to me but I can’t seem to find a recipe. Hope someone can help with this.

Would it work to soak and cook split peas and then continue your favorite baked bean recipe with reduced cooking time as you would baked beans?

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