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Indiana Department of Revenue

DOR > Tax Talk Blog > Don’t use that pay stub! Don’t use that pay stub!

Dec. 30, 2013 – TaxTalk Blog

It’s that time of year when television and radio advertisements promise quick tax refunds if you bring in your year-end pay stub. Although you might be tempted to file your tax return early to get a refund faster, keep in mind that filing with a pay stub will more likely bring complications than quick cash. Here are three reasons why:

  1. You can’t electronically file without having your W-2 in hand. If you use Indiana’s free electronic filing program (INfreefile), go to a paid preparer, or use tax-preparation software and file, you must have your W-2 – the pay stub won’t work.
  1. Navigating a pay stub can be tricky. For instance, if you have any tax saver items, the total annual income reported on the pay stub is probably more than the “taxable” amount you should be reporting. In other words, you could wind up paying more tax than you should – and who would willingly do that?
  1. Filing your tax return without a W-2 attached will put your return on hold. If you mail in your tax return, a pay stub won’t do. Expect to get a letter from the department requesting the W-2. By the time you finally get your W-2 mailed you’ve only delayed your refund.

All employers are required to make W-2s available by the end of January, and most employees get it before then. That’s a modest wait. Also, information on the W-2 is well organized, accurate, easy to find, and best of all – will help ensure your tax return is filed correctly the first time.

So, in the mean time, mute those advertisements and wait for your W-2 to arrive in January. Besides, since the IRS does not officially start taking tax returns until Jan. 31, using your paystub would not do you any good anyways.


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