Before you laugh too hard and think this is a throwback to a “my dog ate my homework” joke, it’s not; this actually happened to a friend of mine. My friend had left her various tax forms on her desk, including her W-2s and 1099s, and gone out for the day. When she had returned, her dog had jumped onto the desk, grabbed the forms, and basically chewed them all up. They were absolutely destroyed with no hope of being reconstituted. Yep, she was ready to tell the IRS that her dog ate her W-2s!
Luckily, she had already prepared her taxes using online software like TurboTax  or TaxCut  so she still had all her information, she was just missing the forms. As it turns out, and anyone who has e-filed recently has recognized this, you no longer need to mail in the actual W-2 forms. The reality is that a copy of the W-2 (and 1099s) has already been sent to the IRS, so they already have the correct information, perhaps they requested the W-2 in the past just to confirm you had received it and were working off correct information? Not sure, but either way my friend didn’t need her W-2s and e-filed without incident.
So, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t always scoff at someone if they try the “my dog ate the whatever” excuse and you should always e-file. 🙂