How to Get W2s Without Going Through the Employer

If you need a W2 for a current year tax return, the quickest and easiest way is going directly to your employer. The Internal Revenue Service requires employers to send out W2s no later than Jan. 31 of each year. Occasionally, you may come across a lender or creditor requesting to see your W2s from previous years. There are easy methods to get a copy of old W2 information. In some cases, you can get a W2 up to 10 years old.

    Step 1

    Contact the IRS and advise the representative that you need a copy of your tax transcript. A tax transcript includes line by line items from your tax return. Transcripts are accepted by most lenders, financial institutions and agencies.

    Step 2

    Give the IRS representative the specific year for which you need W2 information. The IRS will mail a copy of your tax transcript for free. The transcript includes information from your W2, but not the actual W2. If you don't want to spend time calling the IRS, you can also get a copy of your transcript by submitting IRS Form 4506-T, which is available for download on the IRS website. Transcripts more than three years old are unavailable.

    Step 3

    Complete IRS form 4506 if you need a hard copy of your W2. On the form, specify the tax year that you need a W2. Submit the completed form, along with a $57 processing fee. The IRS will mail you a copy of your official W2 form.

    Step 4

    Get a copy of your W2 from a former tax preparer if you prefer not to contact the IRS or don't want to pay the $57 fee. The IRS requires tax preparers to keep a copy of your tax records for up to seven years. Some preparers may keep your records for a longer period.

    Things You'll Need

    • IRS form 4506

    • IRS form 4506-T

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