How can I get a copy of my W-2 form?

The Declaration of Wages and Salaries of employees of the United States, commonly known as Form W-2 of the Internal Revenue Service or (I.R.S. or Internal Revenue Service), must be submitted by employers before January 31 of the current year. This form gathers the salaries and compensations that a worker has received in the immediately previous year, and also the withholdings that were applied for the payment of federal taxes. Obtaining a copy of your W-2 form is not complicated and here we explain how.

Although the W-2 is a federal government form, it is the employers who have the obligation to complete and present it, to later deliver a copy to your employees who will use it in their own statement or, if applicable, to make their claims. To complete Form W-2, the employer uses the information reported by their employees on Form W-4. Being an essential document for employees to fulfill their tax return, losing Form W-2 could become a real headache; especially for workers.

If you’re an employee and you misplaced your copy – or maybe you never received it – don’t worry! There are several ways to request duplicates of Form W-2 so that you can meet your tax obligations on time and without problems.

Keep reading: How to Get a Copy of Old W2 Forms for Free

Download your W-2 online

First of all, check if you can access Form W-2 online. Many companies work with payroll systems affiliated with the IRS where you can see your W-2s and any other financial information that is important to you.

If this is your case, log into your payroll account and try to download a copy of the form. Don’t know how to access your payroll account online? Do not worry! Ask your employer or any person in charge of the Human Resources office. They can provide you with technical assistance.

How to fill out w2 form
Example of how to fill out the W-2 form

Ask your employer for a copy

If logging into the online payroll system doesn’t work, talk to your employer and ask for a copy. This may be one of the easiest ways to get a copy of Form W-2, as employers keep several on file. You may also need to talk to the company’s payroll person or, if they have one, the Human Resources office.

Take advantage of the fact that you are there update your home address. Remember that many employers send copies of Form W-2 to their employees’ addresses. It is possible that, if you did not receive the form on time, your data is out of date. To prevent this from happening again, it is best to update all your data in detail.

If you prefer to receive your Form W-2 electronically, ask the Human Resources office to include your email address as the preferred means of receiving information.

If for any reason your employer refuses to give you a copy of the W-2 or does not send it to you before February 14, do not despair! Contact the Social Security Administration directly to apply for help or an earnings investigation.

Request a duplicate at IRS offices

If the above options don’t work, you may need to contact the IRS directly to request a copy of Form W-2. For the option with the IRS to be successful, you must prove to the tax agent that you tried to contact your employer and that you have not yet received a copy of the form.

Remember: When you call the IRS, you will have to answer some security questions that are asked to verify your identity and thus prevent third parties from accessing your information without prior authorization. Among the data you should have on hand are:

  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Name of employer.
  • You social Security number.
  • Phone number of your employer.
  • The date of entry and, if applicable, discharge.
  • Your employer’s address, including state, city, and zip code.
  • An estimate of the wages you generated during the last fiscal year and the amount that was withheld for federal income tax.

To make it easier to answer all these questions, try to find a pay stub that is recent.

To call the Internal Revenue Service, cCall 800-829-1040. Of course: remember to do it on February 14 or as soon as possible.

Use alternative forms

You can file your federal income tax return using alternative forms. Within the options, there is the statement with the Form 4852 “Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement” I am Form 1040X, which is for amended returns.

When is it necessary to use Form 1040X?

The Form 1040X or “Amended US Individual Income Tax Return” is used when you need to amend your return, that is, if the information on the W-2 differs from what was reported on Form 4852. Therefore, if you receive Form W-2 late and notice that what was reported is different than what was reported on Form 4852. that you entered in the 4852, then you must download the 1040X, fill it out and submit it.

Request the duplicate of the W-2 of a previous fiscal year

Search, download and fill in the Form 4506 for request a copy of your federal income tax return from the previous year. Remember that the IRS stores copies of W-2 forms from previous tax years. To obtain a copy, you must make the request to send your tax return and Form 4506 is the one indicated for it.

This method is used to request any declaration that you have presented in the last 10 years. Of course: you should know that each transcript you request will have a charge of $50. This alternative is perfect if you want to recover a Form W-2 that you have already used to file your taxes.

Do you only need information about your salary and declared taxes? Then all you have to do is fill in the Form 4506-T or Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

  • If you prefer the Form 4506 method, you will receive a full copy of your federal income tax return by mail.
  • If you prefer the transcription request, you can do the process 100% online. Log in to the IRS and use the “Get Transcript” tool to view or print previous Forms W-2. Remember that to access the information, you will need to provide some personal information that will help the system verify your identity, such as your Social Security number and address.

Call the Social Security Administration

If you contact the SSA (Social Security Administration) at 800-772-1213, you can get a copy of Form W-2 from them, at least as long as you are requesting it to do any procedure related to Social Security, such as a earnings research. If you need help, don’t forget to visit the official website of the Social Security Administration and review the frequently asked questions and answers section.

Do not forget!

To get a copy of Form W-2, you will need to pay additional charges in advance. If you decide to request them from the SSA to resolve any matter related to Social Security, you will not have to pay anything, since they are completely free. If you do not need the Form W-2 to carry out a procedure with the SSA, you will be obligated to pay a $37. Otherwise you will not receive the duplicate.

Let’s see some cases in which your procedure could be related to a query or procedure before the Social Security Administration:

  • Earnings investigation request by the SSA.
  • Earnings discrepancy in connection with a claim filed under Title II or Title XVI.

Therefore, if you need the copy of the W-2 form to file your federal or state income tax return, to process something related to your residence or to provide the IRS with information related to the payment of workers’ compensation, you will have to make the payment of the $37. Our recommendation? Before making an application with the SSA, try some of the other options described in the guide, since they are completely free.

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