How Do I Get My W2 From A Company That Went Bankrupt And No Longer Exists?

By Jay White

May 15, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

In the wake of the Wall Street crash of 2008, millions of American workers lost their jobs as companies folded, filed from bankruptcy and completely stopped doing business. Not all companies evaporated and ceased to exist; some stopped operating and were acquired by special investment banking firms that deal with distressed business properties. Still, many companies essentially disappeared from public view.

By January 31st of 2009, many taxpayers in the United States who had been laid off in the previous year were nervously awaiting the arrival of their Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. By mid-February, the IRS call centers and taxpayer assistance channels were inundated with queries about what they should do in the absence of a W-2.

<strong>Who is Responsible for Sending W-2 Forms?</strong>

Many taxpayers incorrectly assume that the IRS is responsible for sending their W-2 forms. That responsibility and duty falls on employers: particularly those who withhold and remit income taxes from workers. In essence, a W-2 form is a report that certifies how much was paid to workers in wages and bonuses as well as how much was withheld as taxes. This report closes on December 31st of each year, which gives employers a few weeks to prepare these forms.

Current employees can personally receive W-2 forms from their bosses; those who are no longer with the company, however, usually have to wait for their forms to be mailed to the residential address kept on record by human resources. It is common for employees who have moved to a different home to miss their W-2 forms; when this happens, they should get in touch with their previous employers or former co-workers and update their records.

<strong>Dealing With Bankrupt Companies</strong>

Companies that file for bankruptcy protection may be ordered by a federal judge or a trustee to operate in a small headquarters office capacity until all debts are properly discharged. Former employees looking for their W-2 forms can visit their local federal courthouse and ask for assistance in a bankruptcy records search, which should yield information about the trustee or the law firm representing the company.

Attorneys and trustees can help former employees get their missing W-2 forms; at the very least, they can provide them with updated contact information for the company that is going through bankruptcy at the time. If all this fails, former employers should gather all payroll information available and ask the IRS for help in getting a Substitute W-2 Form.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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