is not affiliated with any government agencies

How to Get a Copy of W2 Fast

How to Get a Copy of W2 Fast

If you’re searching for your W2 quickly for a variety of reasons, whether it’s a third party request, trying to qualify for a loan, or just filing your tax return and receiving your refund, it can leave you feeling anxious and frantic.

Why You Might Need to Get a Copy of an Old W2 Form

  1. Filing Income Taxes: The most common reason is to file your income taxes. Your W-2 provides important information about your income, taxes withheld, and other details necessary for completing your tax return.
  2. Access to Income Information: You may need your old W-2 to provide income information when applying for a loan, mortgage, or financial aid for education.
  3. Verification of Income for Employment: Some employers may request W-2 forms from previous years as part of the employment verification process. This can be especially true if you’re changing jobs or applying for a new position.
  4. Social Services or Government Assistance Programs: When applying for certain social services or government assistance programs, you may be required to provide proof of income, and your W-2 can serve as that documentation.
  5. Correcting Errors on Previous Tax Returns: If you discover an error on a previous tax return, you may need to obtain an old W-2 to make corrections and file an amended return.
  6. Divorce or Legal Proceedings: In legal situations, such as divorce or other legal proceedings, you may be required to provide past W-2 forms as part of the financial disclosure process.
  7. Retirement Planning: When planning for retirement, you might need old W-2 forms to assess your historical income and contributions to retirement accounts.
  8. Addressing IRS Inquiries: If the IRS has questions about a specific tax year or if you’re being audited, having access to your old W-2 forms can help address inquiries and provide supporting documentation.

How to Get a Copy of Your Old W-2

To obtain a copy of an old W-2, you have a number of options to track down your W-2 data. However, keep in mind that there may be fees associated with requesting duplicate copies of W-2 forms from some employers, third-party services, and even the IRS, so it’s advisable to check with your employer first to understand their policies and procedures.

1. Get your W-2 from Your Current or Previous Employer

This is the most efficient and direct method. In accordance with the law, they must provide you with a copy of your W-2. Inquire as to when and how W-2 forms are distributed to employees. The majority of employers offer electronic copies, so check if you are able to access them online.

Verify Mailing Address: Ensure that your employer has your correct mailing address on file. If your W-2 is being mailed, any delay in delivery could be due to an outdated address.

Employee Portals: Some employers offer an employee portal or payroll system where you can access your W-2 electronically. Check the W-2 section of the employee portal or payroll system provided by your employer.

Check with Payroll or Human Resources: If you’re having trouble obtaining your W-2 through the usual channels, contact your employer’s payroll or human resources department. They can provide information on when and how W-2 forms are distributed.

2. Request your W-2 from Your Payroll Provider

Many employers use 3rd party payroll provider services such as ADP or Paylocity. Some payroll providers have online platforms that allow employees to access and download their W-2 forms. Check if your payroll provider offers such services and follow the above instructions provided.

If you no longer have access to the online portal, call them. You may need to verify your social security number and show other proof of identity with additional w-2 information, but they can typically help you directly and re-issue it through the mail as long as you ensure your mailing address is up to date. Note that in order to ensure your employer is in compliance, these payroll providers typically facilitate the original mailing of the W2 form within 30 calendar days of the end of each calendar year (by January 31st).

3. Request your W-2 or Transcripts by Phone or Online from the IRS

If you’ve tried the above steps and are still unable to obtain your W-2, you can contact the IRS for assistance. They may be able to provide guidance and help you get a copy of your W-2. You can reach the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

If your requirements will allow Wage and Income Transcripts in liue of your W2, the IRS Get Transcript Tool on is an excellent way to receive the data fast.

I lost my Form W-2 What are my Options?

Lost W-2 FAQs

How can I get a PDF copy of my W2?

As mentioned, always start with your employer and/or their payroll service provider. If they cannot send you an electronic copy of your W2, simply scan the printed version on your smart phone using a mobile app like CamScanner.

What To Do for a W-2 Received After Filing Your Tax Return?

In the event that your W-2 includes changes that affect your tax liability (like additional income or adjustments to withholdings), you’ll have to file an amended tax return using Form 1040X.

Where to get a copy of tax return and W2?

If your missing your W2, we recommend following the steps above, but if you need an actual copy your tax return (Form 1040), here are your options:

  • Your Online Tax Software: If you used tax preparation software to file your taxes, log in to your account on the software’s website. Most tax software providers store copies of your filed tax returns for several years.
  • Your Tax Preparer: If you used a tax professional or accountant to prepare your taxes, reach out to them directly. They should have a copy of your tax return on file.
  • IRS Online Services: You can access your tax return transcript online through the IRS website. Visit the “Get Transcript” tool on the IRS website ( and follow the instructions to request your transcript.
  • Request by Mail: You can also request a copy of your tax return by mail using Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. This form is available on the IRS website, and you can mail it to the address listed in the instructions.


I lost my Form W-2 What are my Options?” by Jason D. Knott

You May Also Like