CAN I USE MY PAY STUB TO PREPARE MY TAX RETURN?
Please do not try to use your pay stub to prepare your tax return. It will not match the W-2 that you will get from your employer in just a few short weeks. Your employer has until the end of January to give you your W-2. By waiting for your W-2 you will be able to file accurately. If you try to guess what goes in the W-2 “boxes” and mess up your return, you will need to amend. It takes about 4 months to amend a tax return. The IRS will not be accepting 2019 returns until the end of January — so you can wait for your W-2. If you are hoping to get a quick tax refund by filing early, using your pay stub might have the opposite result. Your tax return will not match the W-2 reported to the IRS by your employer; this may result in rejection of your return — or if accepted, could actually delay your refund for months. And, if you are hoping to get EIC or the refundable amount of the child tax credit, your refund will not be released until late February anyhow. It is much wiser to wait for your W-2 and file correctly.
Pay stubs rarely match the W-2--which is why we tell everyone not to file using a pay stub.
There are a few different reasons as to why, the most common one is that if your employer offers pre-tax health insurance and you elected to participate, the amount you earned will be lowered by that amount since your health insurance premiums came out before any tax.
Same if you participated in any 401(k) pre-tax retirement plan. Again your income will be lowered by the amount you contributed since it is a pre-tax deduction.
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