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#WIMW2 Season

It’s that time of the year again! The time right after open enrollment between Christmas and New Year’s when the “WIMW2” questions begin. This is followed up by “IHRMW2” in mid-February, and then with “YDWETWAYGTDAI” sometime in March with some stragglers in April.

To clarify, that’s “Where is my W2?”, “I haven’t received my W2”, and “You didn’t withhold enough taxes. What are you going to do about it?”

I am my own chatbot so I get to answer these questions directly and repeatedly. Some folks call me or email me daily to ask the same question. As patiently and politely as I can, I explain the W2s are not available yet since (as of the time of this entry) we are still in the current year for those W2s. I then explain that they will be available by the required deadline of January 31st but that sometimes, they are available earlier. I pinky promise that I will mail them as soon as I receive them and remind everyone they will be available through employee self-service.

In early January, I review the list of anyone who claimed tax exempt for the prior year and send them a communication letting them know they must update their W4 form before February 15th.

Around mid-February, my incoming mail increases with returned W2s concurrent with the calls from folks who’ve moved but forgot to update their mailing address. For others, they insist “Well, you sent it to the wrong address” as if I had any way of knowing they moved. I get it. We don’t always remember to update HR about these things, especially if someone has moved on from the employer. I provide the self-service information for quickest access and repeat the process as needed.

In March and April, it’s not uncommon to field calls from frustrated folks who are surprised by the results for their tax returns. I don’t take the “You didn’t withhold enough taxes. What are you going to do about it?” question personally. The usual reasons behind the issues are: claiming tax exempt, claiming too many deductions for the household, or not updating the tax withholding after a life event. I do my best to explain there is nothing I can do about it at this time but encourage them to use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator or contact a tax advisor for recommendations on adjustments to their W4 (and state forms as applicable) going forward.

I remind myself this is a stressful time for many. No one likes bad surprises, especially when it comes to money. With changes to tax brackets and the uniqueness of everyone’s situations, there is not much tangible help I can provide (or should since I’m not a trained tax advisor). What I can do is listen and respond empathetically, even when it’s challenging.


What are your highlights during 1st quarter each year?

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