How To File Taxes without Waiting for W-2

If you want to get your tax refund relatively fast, first, you have to file your tax returns. Ideally, filing of tax reports should be way ahead of time to escape late filer rush.

Of course, you cannot proceed with filing your taxes without a filled out W-2 form. But if you are lucky, your employer will send out the W-2 to his employees in a timely manner. If you are not that lucky to have such an employer, do not despair. There is a way to file your taxes without the W-2.

Follow the instructions below to find out how you can file taxes without your W-2.


  • Your current tax year’s pay check or pay slip
  • Previous tax year’s W-2
  • Pen and paper
  • Calculator


  • Get your latest pay check and the previous tax year’s W-2. Have it photocopied. It would be safe to have at least 3 replicas so you will have extra copies if needed.
  • Get one copy of your previous tax year’s W-2 and cross out the amounts printed in the boxes. In case you do not have a copy of your previous W-2, get a clean sheet of paper and draw 8 boxes. Label each box as follows:  Box 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 16, and 17.
  • Gather the year-to-date amounts of your tax returns. Looking at your latest pay check, locate the year-to-date gross pay. Then, look for the tax deductions. Get your calculator to subtract the tax deductions from the gross pay. The resulting amount should be written in Box 1 and Box 16. Note you should also deduct all pre-tax amounts such as insurance and other contributions from your year-to-date gross.
  • Locate your year-to-date gross pay. Then, subtract any pre-tax insurance from the same year. Do not subtract 401k amount. Write the resulting amount on Box 3 and Box 5.
  • Find your Federal Income Tax from your pay check. Write this is Box 2.
  • Look for “FICA”, then, write this in Box 4.
  • Look for your “Medicare” deductions. Write this value in Box 6.
  • Locate the state withholding tax. Depending on your state, this may be labeled as “NY withholding”, “CA withholding”, or similar. Write this amount in Box 17.

You are now ready to file your W-2, and you are one step closer to getting your tax refund. Bring this paper for filing as your reference. Remember to be careful with the values you put in the boxes, as you are likely to be audited. Before leaving, double, or even triple check the values you place in the boxes. Also, bring all the necessary supporting documents with you to present the auditor in case they want to verify the amounts you have written.

If you have successfully filed your tax already but would need to make changes, consult the auditor for the change process.

If you are not confident with filing you tax using this method, it is best to wait for your employer to give you your W-2.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: