Even employers make mistakes, and sometimes may include inaccurate information on a W-2 form due to typographical or other errors. W-2 forms are used by your employer to report your withholdings and income earned for the year to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. If you are a new employee, you should check your first paystub to ensure the Social Security Number on it matches your own, because an inaccurate SSN can create conflicts with the IRS and SSA. If you notice an error, you can go through your employer to correct the number, but you can also resolve the problem with the IRS.
Why a Correct SSN Is Important
If your employer does not put the correct SSN on your paystubs, you may not receive the full benefits owed to you when you collect Social Security or Medicare, according to the Social Security Administration. Social Security will provide you a monthly check upon retirement, survivorship benefits and disability benefits, while Medicare provides low-cost or free health coverage. If contributions to Social Security are not on your annual statement from the SSA due to an incorrect number, contact the administration and mail them proof of Social Security and Medicare withholdings.
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Filing Your Taxes
If the due date for your return quickly approaches and you received a W-2 late, you can file with an incorrect W-2 form. You will have to cross out the incorrect number and write your actual number directly above the incorrect SSN on your W-2. If your employer got other information on your paystub wrong, you should still file by the annual deadline and then amend your return at a later date. You should pay extra to the IRS if your employer also underreported your income, or you will pay interest on all owed taxes.
Fixing the Problem
If possible, you should have the Social Security Number on your W-2 form corrected before the annual filing deadline to prevent complications with the IRS and the SSA. Contact your human resources department and show them your current paystub and a copy of your Social Security card. Your employer will then correct the error and will mail out a corrected W-2C form to you, the Social Security Administration and the IRS.
If your employer does not correct the wrong SSN on your paystubs, you can contact the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040. Only call if your employer has not corrected your paystubs by Feb. 15 of the following tax year. An IRS agent will initiate a complaint against the employer and will send them a letter requiring them to correct the error. If the employer does not respond promptly, the IRS will send you a letter and Form 4852, which allows you to correct the W-2 yourself by the time you have to file your annual tax return.