Employers are already working frantically to get out timely and accurate W-2s. Congress has changed the law requiring W-2s to be filed on or before January 31. You can expect your W-2 on or before January 31. However, this law change could result in little time to find errors.

What you should do:

1. Immediately open your W-2 and check the following:

a. Is your name spelled correctly (as reflected on your Social Security card)?
b. Is your Social Security number correct?
c. Do the year-to-date totals agree with the totals as shown on your last pay stub for the year?
d. Is the withholding for federal and state what you expected it to be?

2. If all seems well, put your W-2 in a safe place until you are ready to file your return. If lost, it may take some time to get a replacement and your employer may charge you for the duplicate W-2.

3. If there are issues with your W-2 bring it to your employer’s attention immediately. If you wait to point out issues until after your employer has filed the W-2 with the taxing authorities, it will take longer to make corrections.

4. Complete a new W-4 for 2018. This is particularly important this year with the potential tax law changes. And this is the correct way to make corrections to your name, Social Security number, address and withholding. The corrections are needed because:

a. If your name and Social Security number are incorrect, you will not only have trouble filing your income tax return today, you will likely not get credit for Social Security wages. Wages not reported to the Social Security Administration will cause your future Social Security payments to be smaller.

b. A correct address is needed in order to get your W-2 to you timely. You might not get it at all.

c. If your withholding was insufficient for last year, make changes in the number of exemptions for the current year. The amounts withheld last year cannot be changed. But changes on the W-4 will insure that the current year withholding will be proper.*

*Caveat: President Trump is making promises that he will give everyone a larger paycheck in February. He can do this by causing the withholding tables to be changed, which may result in your withholding being insufficient. We recommend that you discuss your 2018 W-4 with your tax preparer.

Conover & Conover, CPAs, PSC, is now accepting appointments for the preparation of 2017 income tax returns.

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