How to Request a Copy of My W-2 Tax Returns

December 12, 2010 by  

All taxpayers who were classified as employees of any kind during the year must report the income that is shown on their W-2 Forms. This form is mailed to all employees during tax season so that they can file their taxes. Independent contractors do not receive this form.

  1. Give your employer at least a couple of months after the end of the year to mail you your W-2 form. If you have not received it by then, contact your employer and ask if your form has been sent yet. Your employer may also schedule a later date, such as March 15, to send out its W-2s.
  2. Contact your manager or HR department if you have received your forms and lost them. They can reissue you copies of your W-2 forms and mail them to you. However, you may not get them until after April 15, thus requiring you to file for an extension on your return with the IRS.
  3. Log on to your employer’s website if they have one and download your W-2s from the site if they are available. You may need to enter a user ID and password in order to access your forms.
  4. Contact the IRS to request copies of past W-2s for tax returns from previous years. The agency will have the information from your W-2s on file, but not a copy of the form itself.
  5. Create a substitute W-2 if you are unable to obtain a copy of your original form from your employer. The IRS will accept this as legitimate; however, you will not get a rapid tax refund if you do this.