Ministers working for a church or church agency should receive a Form W-2 by January 31, 2014. Ministers who report their federal income taxes as self-employed on Form 1099, may face a significant risk of additional taxes and penalties, if they are audited and reclassified as employees by the IRS.

Before you file your 2013 tax return, you should make sure you have all the needed documents including all your Forms W-2.

If you haven’t received your W-2, follow these four steps:

1. Contact your church if you have not received your W-2 and inquire if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the church because of an incorrect or incomplete address. After contacting the church, allow a reasonable amount of time for them to resend or to issue the W-2.

  • Verify that your W2 form is completed and correct. In 2011, 60% of clergy W-2 forms were issued in error by churches and payroll companies. 

2. Contact the IRS if you do not receive your W-2 by February 14th, contact the IRS for assistance at
800-829-1040. When you call, you must provide your name, address, city and state, including zip code, Social Security number, phone number and have the following information:

  • Employer’s name, address, city and state, including zip code and phone number
  • Dates of employment
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and when you worked for that employer during 2013. The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.

3. File your return or request an extension to file April 15, 2014, even if you do not receive your Form W-2. If you have not received your Form W-2 by the due date, and have completed steps 1 and 2, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Attach Form 4852 to the return, estimating income and withholding taxes as accurately as possible.  There may be a delay in any refund due while the information is verified.

4. File a Form 1040X if you receive your missing W-2 after you filed your return using Form 4852, and the information may be different from what you reported on your return. If this happens, you must amend your return by filing a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.