IRS deadline approaches: What to do if you're missing documents

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The tax deadline is fast approaching, but what do you do if you're missing those all-important documents? From W-2s to 1099s - there are ways to make sure you are prepared to file your taxes.

While procrastination may be a reason some people haven't filed yet, there are many taxpayers out there with legitimate reasons for not filing their taxes.

"What happened is some people got married or divorced during the year, they moved; there could be a variety of life changing reasons why they did not get these forms," Bob Martin, a Certified Public Accountant, says.

Reasons for missing forms:
  • Employer went out of business

  • You were married or divorce

  • You moved

  • You misplaced the forms

  • What do you do if you don't have your forms?

    According to Martin, you should go back to your employer, but if they don't give it to you, the IRS has Form 4852 that you can fill out. On this form, you can put the estimated information from, for example, your last pay stub and use it in your return to just get the return filed in time.

    Tax filers are then left with the decision of asking a tax preparer or accountant for help.

    Martin says, "You might want to, because it's an additional procedure and it's more complicated."

    He continued, "There are a variety of other ways (as well). Say you are missing a 1099, and you're an independent contractor -- you might be able to use estimated numbers. If you are missing a brokerage statement, a 1099B, you can use the December statement. As always, it is best to use the most recent form."

    Having a stock investment, or Master Limited Partnership, requires you to get a K1 form. While investments have gotten more and more complicated, acquiring a K1 form has actually become easier due to its availability online, according to Martin.

    If you are one of the people who have procrastinated, you may be left wondering if you should go ahead and file for an extension. The answer is yes, according to Martin.

    "It's not a good idea to use estimated numbers," he said. "But let's face it, if you're not going to get the final number from somebody, go ahead and get filed and put a disclosure in the return that you are using an estimated number. But if the information is eventually going to come, I recommend using an extension. It's easier to do it right the first time because if you used an estimate and it's bad, you will have to go back and amend the tax return later."

    The last day to get an extension is April 15th, so Martin recommends not waiting until the last minute because you're never completely certain something might come up like a broken computer or an illness.

    For more information for tax season, go to our ABC13 Consumer page.
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