Ready to file your tax return but can’t find your W-2 form?
If you realized you lost a prior year W-2, there’s still hope. The process to get a copy of a W-2 can be fairly simple. In order to receive a copy of your prior year W-2, you have three options. After requesting the W-2 , create an account and start preparing your late tax return on Prior Tax.
Option #1: Get your W-2 from previous employer.
The easiest way to get a copy of a lost W-2, is to contact the employer who issued it. The payroll department of your employer (or former employer) should be saving important tax information, such as W-2s. Ask for the W-2 to be sent to you. This process is pretty simple and shouldn’t take much time.
Option #2: Get your W-2 from employer’s payroll provider.
Have you asked your employer for your W-2 and noticed that he mentally added the task to the very bottom of his To-Do list? If you know that your employer (or past employer) uses a payroll provider instead of calculating payroll in-office, skip the middleman and give the company a call yourself. When you call, be prepared to verify your SSN or employee number as they may ask for it. While speaking to the payroll provider, you may want to confirm the following:
- Specify the year of the W-2 form that you need sent to you.
- Verify the address they have on file for you. This is the address they will mail your W-2 to.
- Ask how long it will take for them to mail your W-2 form.
Option #3: Get your W-2 from the IRS.
If you only need the federal information that was reported on your W-2 (not an actual copy), then you’ll file form 4506-T to the IRS for free. For state withholding amounts, you will need to contact your state department of revenue.
The box you will need to make sure that is checked off is titled “Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript.” This alternative may be more time-consuming than reaching out to an employer. However, it requires NO hunting down of past employers to get them to spare a nano-second of their time.
What you should know when requesting previous year W-2 forms from the IRS:
- The IRS keeps copies of past W-2s (and all tax documents under your Social Security Number) from the last 7-10 years.
- The W-2s are not available from the IRS until one year after they were filed.
- You will need to fill out Form 4506-T, sign and mail, or fax it to the address/information listed on the form.
- To get a copy of the Form W-2 or Form 1099 already filed with your return, you must use Form 4506 and request a copy of your return, which includes all attachments. This requires a fee of $50.
- It may take up to 75 calendar days for the IRS to process your request.
Get started filing your prior year tax return today.
There are several roads available to you for tracking down a copy of your W-2. While contacting your employer is the quickest and cheapest way, the IRS route may be more reliable and less of a burden to you.
Once you receive the copy of the W-2, you can then use the information provided and start filing the prior year tax return.