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I'm going to take your approach, but what is it exactly that they expect me to do? If they refuse to budget off the idea that they can't give me a new W-2 because it was repaid after the end of the year, what am I supposed to do?

The better question is what do they propose to do? They have over-reported your wages (thus filing a false statement with the government) and overwithheld FICA & Medicare. Overwithheld income tax is no big whoop, because you can recover that on your 1040, but you can recover the other only from the employer.

I suggest a certified letter asking a written response with the details, including a timetable, of exactly how they're going to correct their errors. I'd send it to the nincompoop you've been dealing with, with cc's to:

the upper company food chain
state Labor Dept.
IRS, attention of the Taxpayer Advocate

(Note that the last one isn't going to accomplish anything, but the people you're dealing with might scare easily, and the Advocate's people are just sitting around twirling string, so wasting a little of their time is no big thing.)

Sometime someone is going to learn that they have to file a correction with Social Security (where the W-2's are filed) and that requires an attestation that all excess withheld FICA and Medicare have been repaid to the employee. Meanwhile, use the correct amount of wages on your 1040 and the W-2 amount of withheld income tax (all this on your 2003 return). Attach an explanation of the difference between the wages on the return and W-2, and you should have no further income tax problem.

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