Topic 159 - Prior Year(s) Form W-2 (How to Get a Copy)

The IRS only retains actual copies of Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement, as an attachment to your tax return for prior years. The only way to get an actual copy of your Form W-2 from the IRS is to order a copy of the entire return by using Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, and paying a fee of $50.00 for each return requested.

As an alternative, you can use Form 4506-T (PDF), Request for Transcript of Tax Return, to request a wage and income transcript. It shows the data reported to the IRS on information returns such as Form W-2s, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series and Form 5498 series; however, state or local information is not included with the Form W-2 information. These transcripts are available for the past ten tax years but information for the current tax year may not be complete until July.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides to the Number Holder (NH) or legal representative(s) at no charge, a microprint copy of Form W-2. You can use this to help resolve an SSA program related matter, such as an earnings discrepancy in connection with the processing of a Title II and/or Title XVI claim or an SSA or NH initiated earnings investigation. Call 800-772-1213 or visit SSA.gov for instructions on how to obtain wage information from the SSA.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: June 09, 2015