THE BLOG

What to Do If Your Tax Documents Went Missing

02/24/2015 03:43 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015

Whether you didn't receive it, it wasn't sent or it is stuck in the pages of January's People Magazine, somehow the tax documents you need to prepare your tax return, which were all due by January 31 or February 15, are nowhere to be found. Take a deep breath and double-check your tax folder, box or drawer -- hopefully, you come across what you need. I have looked and looked for a form, only to realize that I opted-in to paperless options and an email was sent to notify me that my tax document was ready for me to log in and download.

So, step two, cross your fingers and check your email. If you still cannot find what you were expecting, then the good news is, if you electronically file your return, you don't need the paper document. You do, however, need the exact information from the form -- just not the physical form. Be sure the numbers you use match the ones on the document. More good news: Almost everything that was sent to you is likely available online.

Go to your bank, mortgage company, educational institution or Social Security website and look for a tax documents link. You will probably need to create an account, but once you do, you should be able to view or download the documents you need. Online is the single quickest and best way to get commonly issued forms like the W-2, 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, 1099-INT, Interest Income and the SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement. Even the new Form 1095-A, which is issued if you purchased health insurance through the marketplace, is available from your marketplace's website.

If, for some reason, you cannot obtain your Forms W-2 or 1099-R, or they don't match the information you have, first contact the issuer. If they are unavailable or will not help, then call IRS _at 1-800-829-1040). The IRS will need your address, phone number, Social Security Number and it is best if you have your employer's information, including the employer identification number (EIN) and your earnings and withholding as well. You can usually find all of the information on your last pay stub. The IRS will attempt to contact the issuer for you. They will also send you a Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2 or 1099-R, which you can use if your employer doesn't replace or correct, your form in time for you to file your tax return on April 15.

If you think you are one of the 800,000 taxpayers waiting on a corrected Form 1095-A from the Federal Marketplace, you should have received a phone call or email. If you have not been notified, you can check your marketplace account on HealthCare.gov. Log in and select your 2014 application, under "Tax forms" you will see a message if your 1095-A form is being corrected. When the corrected form is ready, which should be early March, it will be available here and mailed to you. A note included on HealthCare.gov indicates: "If your form was incorrect, please wait to file your 2014 Federal income taxes. We encourage you to wait to file until you get your corrected Form 1095-A."

If you choose to file before you get your corrected Form 1095-A, you have two options. You can find the correct amount of the Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan (SLCSP) that applied to your household in 2014 using the HHS online tool, or you can call the Marketplace Call Center (at 1-800-318-2596) for help.

In any case, if you do not have paperwork you expected, and you are still patiently waiting -- diligently waiting, checking the mailbox each day -- KNOW THIS, it probably isn't in the mail, so you should get the information from other methods. April 15 is coming soon -- and your tax return is one thing that better arrive on time.