Why Did You Get a W-2c? Understanding W-2 Corrections

Why am I getting a W-2c? Learn more about how employers issue corrected W-2 forms, and what should do as a taxpayer after receiving a W-2c.

Dan Clarendon - Author

Mar. 3 2021, Published 3:29 p.m. ET

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If you’re wondering why you’re getting a W-2c this tax season, you might have the COVID-19 pandemic to blame. W-2c forms are sent out whenever employers need to correct information on employees’ W-2 forms. This year, some employers didn’t understand the requirements for reporting wages paid for leave under the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act), according to SHRM.

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Robert Delgado, principal-in-charge of compensation and benefits with KPMG, told SHRM that instructions for reporting those wages were included in IRS Notice 2020-54 but not in the Form W-2 instructions, likely because of “the short-term nature of the program.”

That said, W-2c forms are fairly commonplace, and it usually isn't hard for tax preparers or even tax DIYers to handle them.  

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Why did I get a W-2c?

According to Zenefits, a W-2c is a corrected wage and tax statement that the IRS requires to correct information previously reported on for W-2. The incorrect information might be a typo, or it might be a miscalculated amount, so employees can get corrected W-2 forms for any number of reasons.

W-2s for a given tax year won' reflect any corrections completed after Dec. 31 of that year. So, once any such correction is completed, a W-2c will be sent to the employee and filed with the Social Security Administration.

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How long does it take to get a W-2c?

The timing of the W-2c’s arrival in your inbox depends on when your employer makes the correction. H&R Block recommends that you request that an IRS representative start a Form W-2 complaint with your employer if you are aware of incorrect information on your W-2 and you haven't received a W-2c by the end of February after the tax year in question.

What to do after receiving a W-2c

According to Intuit, if you’ve already used the information from the incorrect W-2 but you haven’t filed your tax return yet, enter the corrected info from the W-2 into your tax return.

If you’ve already mailed your return or if the government has accepted your e-filed return, you can amend your return by filing a new form called 1040X. Intuit says that you’ll need to make an amendment if the corrected information changes the refund or tax due amount.

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Intuit also specifies the deadline for filing the amendment: either three years from the date you filed your return or two years from when you paid the tax is due, whichever date is later.

The IRS also provides instructions for W-2c forms on its website.

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You can still e-file with a W-2c

According to TaxAct, you can still e-file your tax return if you’ve received a W-2c. You’ll just enter the W-2c information as if it’s your original W-2 and file as normal. TaxAct adds that you don’t need to send the W-2c form along with your e-file since your employer will send a copy of the W-2c to the IRS.


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