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No two paystubs are the same so the answer is . . . nobody can tell you.  It is NOT advisable to prepare and file a return from the information on your pay stubs before receiving your W-2.  There is no generally accepted methodology for preparing a pay stub that makes the numbers on that stub match those that may eventually appear on your W-2 and belong in your return.  Some of the common items that make the pay stub and the W-2 different are 401(k) plan contributions, pre-tax deferral programs and compensation elements from ESPPs or stock option or restricted stock plans.  If you use the stub and your W-2 later does not match, the IRS will be contacting you to determine why.  You do not need that kind of aggravation (and neither do they, quite frankly).  This puts you on the IRS’s radar and may require you to file an amended return on Form 1040X to correct any differences.  Employers are required to mail your W-2 to you by February 1, 2012. The IRS begins accepting efiled returns 1/17/2012, so the most you would be delayed would be about 2-3 weeks.  Compare that with the IRS’s estimate of 8 to 12 weeks for processing an amended return.
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