What if your W2/1099 is wrong

My son decided to be helpful and clean up my desk and threw away my 1099G for my unemployment. I had only glanced at it and waiting for the replacement, it seems to me the numbers were wrong. Now before yo say “Can’t be.” they have already screwed up some of my records of when I worked so I know the system is fallible.

I pulled up my bank records so I know I got paid $X. Dividing by 0.9 (I had taxes taken out) it matches pretty closely with my monthly benefit (I’ll have to find that document). Now if I put the right amount, I could justify it during an audit, but who wants to be audited even if you’re right.

So IIRC and my 1099G is wrong, what should I do? Even if I am misremembering and my 1099G is right, I’d still be interested in the answer as an academic question.


For forms like a 1099-G, the IRS will expect what you report to be at least as high as what was on the form. (They don’t mind if you volunteer something higher.)

The tax law is pretty clear that your liability is based on what was actually paid, not what was reported on forms, but it won’t be easy to convince the IRS that you’re right and the form is wrong.

It’s also possible the form is right if it correctly reports incorrect transactions. For example, if they overpaid you in December 2012, and you repaid them in January 2013 for the mistake, including the overpayment on the 2012 1099 might be the correct thing for them to do. The issue of the repayment becomes a 2013 issue. (That’s just a hypothetical example and might not even match the particular rules for a 1099-G, but hopefully it will illustrate what I mean.)

Some years ago I worked for a guy over the course of a summer for a flat 240.00 a 5 day week (Saturdays for cash).

I get my W-2. It’s something like $3,012.47. I complain/explain . he blames the accountant - I eventually get another W-2, it’s closer but still a figure like 3,437.75.

He couldn’t get the idea that no matter how many weeks i had worked for him for 240.00 a week, my total could not have been an odd number and change.

The boss kept urging me to accept one of them ‘It’s less than you made, you’ll pay less taxes.’ again somehow missing the idea that the lower W-2s showed less with-holding than I had actually had withheld therefore I would be refunded less than I was owed.

The boss.

It sounds like: if what you put on your 1040 matches what the 1099 says, you’re good. True or false?

In my state (NJ), unemployment is paid directly into a bank account created for that purpose (you get a debit card). If this is the case with you, it should be fairly easy to determine what you were paid. It is also possible that a 1099 is available online.