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Missing tax forms? Help is here (02/15/2006)
By early February, taxpayers should have received all their tax statements with which to prepare their tax returns. But what if some are still missing? And what documents should you receive anyway?

- Forms W-2. If you have earned a wage, you should receive a Form W-2, "Wage and Tax Statement," from each employer you've worked for in the past year. Employers must mail these forms by January 31, 2005. If you have lost your W-2, your employer can reissue it, however there may be a fee for doing so. In the case of nonreceipt or loss, contact your employer(s) first for missing W-2s. If you do not receive your W-2(s) by February 15, contact the IRS for assistance at 800.829.1040. When calling, have the following information ready:

" Each employer's name, address, phone number, and if possible, employer identification number (EIN).

" Your name, address, social security number, phone number, beginning and ending dates of employment, and an estimate of wages earned.

Your tax return must be filed by the deadline regardless of your receipt of the needed forms. To file without a W-2, use Form 4852, "Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement." If, after receiving a correct W-2, it shows amounts different from those you claimed, you may need to amend your tax return using Form 1040X, "Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return." "Taxpayers should use all means necessary before using a substitute W-2. Their return almost always takes longer to process," says Nick Popolo of Staten Island, NY. "Also, the taxpayer usually needs to amend their return if they eventually receive their W-2, because wrong amounts were reported on the substitute."

- Form 1099. There are several types of Form 1099s and only one, Form 1099-R, "Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts," needs to be sent in with your tax return when it shows income tax withheld unless your return is filed electronically. Form 1099s come from investment holders and certain government agencies, and you should receive one from each firm that you do business with. These forms are needed for tax preparation even if they do not all need to be attached to your tax return, and should always be kept with your tax documentation. Other types of 1099s include the following:

· Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transaction

· Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions

· Form 1099-G, Certain Government and Qualified State Tuition Program Payments

· Form 1099-INT, Interest Income

· Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income

· Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount

· Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement

· Form RRB-1099, Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board

If you have not received a Form 1099, you can sometimes find the information needed to prepare your taxes from other sources such as bank statements, dividend reports, or benefit statements that summarize the interest paid during the year, or you may obtain amounts through customer service centers. If you are able to get the year-end cumulative amounts, you do not have to wait for Form 1099s to file your tax returns. "Again, it is best to get the 1099 from your bank or brokerage," notes Popolo, "because there are often inconsistencies between the year-end statements and the 1099. Use the year-end statements for items like tax-exempt income, investment fees paid, and incurred margin interest."

- Form 1098-T. "Many taxpayers miss the benefit of education credits because they are not aware that some colleges and university post Form 1098-T on student websites. I have an older client attending college who did not receive a 1098-T. She didn't feel computer-savvy enough to find the form on the website. After a brief call to the college to get the correct Web address and to reset her password, my client allowed me to print the forms we needed right from the website," adds NATP member, Valerie Kennedy, of Merrillville, IN.

Like the Form W-2, Forms 1098-T and 1099s were to be mailed by January 31, 2005. Follow the above instructions for Form W-2s for help from the IRS in obtaining any forms you have not received. If you file your taxes without information from all of your Form 1099s, you will need to file an amended return as explained above. Leonard D. Rea, an enrolled agent (EA) from Sturbridge, MA reminds, "If you find that you do need to file an amended return, be sure to wait until the original return is processed before submitting your amendment."

- "Taxpayers who are partners, S corporation shareholders, or beneficiaries of a trust or estate should expect a Schedule K-1 from any of these entities if there is any income or loss to report," advises Roger Laney, an NATP member in Chipley, FL. These are generally not sent to you until the issuer's tax returned is filed, which could be as late as September 15 if the entity files an extension.

Tax preparers are experts who keep up-to-date year-round on tax law changes. They can save you time and offer insight on how to use the tax breaks available to you. To find a professional tax preparer, look to NATP. NATP maintains a listing of professionals in your area at www.taxprofessionals.com.

To receive a FREE brochure on how to find a tax preparer, visit the NATP Press Room at www.natptax.com and download a copy of NATP's "Finding the Right Tax Preparer" brochure. 


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