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.

However, the IRS maintains federal transcripts of Form W-2 information for any purpose for the past ten processing years (and will provide it free of charge). You can view and print prior year Forms W-2 and other income documents by using Get Transcript, an online tool on that provides access for individual taxpayers with a Social Security number (SSN). You can also use Form 4506-T (PDF), Request for Transcript of Tax Return, to request Form W-2 information.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides at no charge the Number Holder (NH) or legal representative(s) a microprint copy of the Form W-2 to resolve an SSA program related matter; for example, 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 for instructions on how to obtain wage information from the SSA.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 23, 2014