Can my ex-employer send me a W2 if I was suppossedly paid off the books?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my ex-employer send me a W2 if I was suppossedly paid off the books?

I worked for a company for a couple of months last year but never signed any paperwork. They gave me personal checks and did not take taxes out; under the table work I assume. Basiclly, they didn’t tell me anything. This was a company my father hired me; that’s why all the under the table. However, now 6 or 7 months after I left, they’re calling me and asking my SSN and address to send me a W-2, yet I never signed or filled one out. They just want to claim me as a private contractor as a tax right off. Is that right?

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no such thing as legal "off the books" employment: every employee or independent contractor must receive a W-2 (employee) or 1099 (contrator), which is also sent to the IRS; taxes must be paid on all wages, either by paycheck withholding or by the employee/contractor (e.g.quarterly estimated payments or when filing taxes, or both). Therefore, they appear to be belatedly trying to honor their legal obligations, which are to document and report your earnings--so yes, this is legal.

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