Can I get copies of my prior year Forms W-2 from the IRS

Tax_questionA) No, the IRS does not provide copies of Forms W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement). Instead, you need to request copies of your Forms W-2 from the employer or employers who issued them to you. Employers are required by law to provide employees with a copy of their Form W-2 by January 31st of each year.

If you have not received your Form W-2 by mid-February, you should contact your employer to request a copy. If your employer is no longer in business or you are unable to contact them, you can contact the IRS for assistance.

To do so, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and provide them with your name, address, Social Security number, and the name and address of your employer. The IRS will then contact your employer on your behalf to request a copy of your Form W-2.

If you are unable to obtain a copy of your Form W-2 from your employer or the IRS, you can still file your tax return using Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Form 4852 allows you to estimate the information on your Form W-2 and file your tax return, but it may delay the processing of your return and any refund you may be entitled to receive.

According to the IRS: The quickest way to obtain a copy of a prior year Form W-2 is through your employer.  If that is not possible:

  • You can order copies of your entire return (attachments include Form W-2) from the IRS for a fee, or
  • Order Form W-2 information at no charge from the IRS as part of a transcript.
  • The IRS can provide Form W-2 information for up to 10 years.
  • Complete information for the current year is generally not available until the year after it is filed with the IRS. For example, Form W-2 information for 2012, filed in 2013, may not be available from the IRS until 2014.

To receive a copy of your return, complete and mail Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, along with the required fee.

To receive a tax return transcript, including your Form W-2 information, complete and mail or fax Form 4506-T (PDF), Request for Transcript of Tax Return.  You may also order a transcript online by going to the Get Transcript page, or by calling 800-908-9946.

You can expect to get a transcript, including Form W-2 information, within 5 to 10 days from the time we receive your request.  If you request a copy of your entire tax return, including Form W-2, you should allow 60 calendar days to receive your copies.

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