Solved: Why would I get a W2 from former employer when I did not work for them that year?
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New Member

Why would I get a W2 from former employer when I did not work for them that year?

Some backstory... I was let go from a long time job in early December of 2017. My last check was issued, cashed and cleared before the year’s end. I get the mail yesterday, and there is a W2 for the 2018 year from former employer. I did the math, and it equates to the last check they issued me, in December of 2017. There have been no other payments from this employer since. How could this have happened, and what should I do? 

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Level 13

Why would I get a W2 from former employer when I did not work for them that year?

You need to call your former employer and ask if the 2017 W-2 included this "last check". If not, then you didn't pay tax on this income last year so you should add the W-2 and pay tax on that last check this year.

If, however, your employer reported that last check on both your 2017 W-2 and this new 2018 W-2, then you need to ask them to issue a "Corrected" W-2 for 2018. This will mean that they will reduce everything to zero.

The point of this exercise is to get your employer to tell the IRS that the second W-2 was a mistake. Otherwise, all the IRS knows is that the company paid you this money in two separate years, and you owe tax on it.

As for which year...Technically, your employer should have added it to 2017, but they probably didn't even if they paid it to you in 2017. If this last check wasn't on your 2017 W-2, then you're not out anything, but in fact, got a year's grace to pay tax on it. If this is the case, just add it to your 2018 tax return and be done with it.

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2 Replies
Level 13

Why would I get a W2 from former employer when I did not work for them that year?

You need to call your former employer and ask if the 2017 W-2 included this "last check". If not, then you didn't pay tax on this income last year so you should add the W-2 and pay tax on that last check this year.

If, however, your employer reported that last check on both your 2017 W-2 and this new 2018 W-2, then you need to ask them to issue a "Corrected" W-2 for 2018. This will mean that they will reduce everything to zero.

The point of this exercise is to get your employer to tell the IRS that the second W-2 was a mistake. Otherwise, all the IRS knows is that the company paid you this money in two separate years, and you owe tax on it.

As for which year...Technically, your employer should have added it to 2017, but they probably didn't even if they paid it to you in 2017. If this last check wasn't on your 2017 W-2, then you're not out anything, but in fact, got a year's grace to pay tax on it. If this is the case, just add it to your 2018 tax return and be done with it.

View solution in original post

New Member

Why would I get a W2 from former employer when I did not work for them that year?

@TurboTaxBillMc Thank you very much for your quick response. I’ve never had something like this happen before, and friends & family were equally confused by the situation. I will do as suggested and go from there. Thank you again.
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