How Can I Get My W-2 Online?


The W-2 is a form sent to an employee and the Internal Revenue Service that declares the annual wages and the corresponding taxes withheld from the employee’s paycheck. It reflects the annual income and withheld taxes from the previous year and is a legal obligation of the employer. It should be sent out by January 31 of each year to give the employees enough time to prepare their taxes before the April deadline.

If you didn’t get your W-2 from your employer or you simply misplaced it, don’t worry! Requesting for a copy of your W-2 is made easy online. Follow this simple guide to get your copy.

‘Get Transcript Online’ on the IRS website

All transcript types can be requested online on IRS as long as you have the following ready: your Social Security number, date of birth, filing status, address of latest tax return, access to your email, a phone number with your name on the account, and all other personal account numbers relevant to your tax returns.

You can directly request for a copy of your W-2 (that is not older than ten years old) using a feature on the IRS website called “Get Transcript Online.” This tool is free of charge if you need a piece of information on your W-2 and not the entire completed W-2 form. Use form 4506-T to request for this. However, if you need more information on your taxes from that year’s returns aside from your W-2, use form 4506 and be ready to shell out $50 per copy.

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to sending your form on the IRS online tool

  1. Enter the same name that you used for that year’s tax return on line 1a. Use the first name listed on that return if it was filed as a joint return.
  2. For line 1b, enter your Social Security number. If it was a joint return, enter the first name’s Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Employer Identification Number, whichever was listed on the form being requested. Lines 2a and 2b are only for the second name and other tax ID number listed on the joint return.
  3. Enter your current name and address (with the city, state, zip code, and country if you are outside the US) on line 3. If you listed a different address on the form being requested, enter that on line 4.
  4. If your form will be sent to someone other than you, use line 5 to enter the name, address, and the number of the person receiving on your behalf.
  5. Enter the form you filed for your taxes on line 6. You can only have your copy certified if you’re using form 4506. Tick the box at the bottom right of line 6.
  6. Enter the period you are requesting for on line 7 (in the format mm/dd/yy). Take note that you can request up to 8 W-2 forms for each 4506.
  7. If you’re using a form 4506-T, tick the box next to line 8 to confirm that you want a transcript of your W-2 information. If you’re using a form 4506, use lines 8b and 8c to enter the number of copies you want and the total cost (number of copies x $50 per copy) of your orders, inclusive of all attachments.
  8. The last step is to prepare your payment. You can use a paper check or money order, but make sure that it is payable to the Internal Revenue Service. In case the IRS refunds the payment, tick the box beside line 9 if you are having someone else receive the order and you want them to receive the refund as well.
  9. Affix your signature and the date on your form. Both signatures are needed for your joint returns.
  10. Create a copy of your request form and mail the original to the IRS. Take note that your request can take two months or longer to process. You can contact the IRS at 1-800-908-0046 if it’s been over two months and you have to yet receive your copy.

Available W-2 form on the internet

It might take a long wait for a paper copy of your W-2 form to reach your mailbox. Luckily, there are websites that allow W-2 forms to be downloaded by users. However, if you opt to access your W-2 online, you have to download and print your own copies.

Web-based tax preparation software and services

Several web-based tax software allows users to import forms while doing their taxes using the software platform. They often have a free search engine for retrieving your W-2. Once you get your W-2, you can continue filing online with the software, or you can download your copy so you can print it to be included in your tax return. It’s a quicker process that eliminates the waiting time for paper copies.

W-2 delivery firm

Majority of employers already make their W-2 forms available online.  These forms can be accessed for free via outsourcing firms that manage W-2 delivery to employees. Find out if your employer hired a payroll or delivery firm that has available web-based W-2 forms open to employees like you.

If you’re still confused with how to get a copy of your W-2 online, then here are two other suggestions for you:

Through your current or previous employer

  • You can call your employer’s payroll department to request for your W-2 form. This is the easiest way to get a copy of the form since employers are responsible for keeping the important tax information of their company and employees.
  • If your employer has a payroll provider, ask for the details from your boss and call directly the payroll provider. You should be ready with the relevant details such as your Social Security number or Employee number when requesting your W-2.

Through a professional tax preparer

  • If you hired a professional to help with your taxes, then you can have your W-2 requested for you. Just make sure that the professional has your correct address on file and your Social Security number.

In filing your taxes, always keep your copies on hand, including your W-2 forms as you would also need them in case you need to file an amended tax return.