In today's digital age, keeping paperless records continues to be the norm instead of the exception for many people. This trend also continues to increase among income tax filers. For tax year 2019 (representing returns filed in 2020), eFile reports a whopping 91.66 percent of taxpayers e-filed their returns, compared to 10 years prior when 67.18 percent e-filed their returns (2009).
But if you still file paper tax returns, you may also want a hard copy of your IRS Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement). And even if you once had this document in your tax paperwork file, it may have gone missing, which is more of a critical loss if you're trying to meet a tax filing deadline. You can still get a copy or a transcript of your W-2 online, depending on how you filed your tax return.
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IRS W-2 Transcript
If you filed a paper tax return and submitted a paper Form W-2 with it, you'll be able to get an actual copy of your W-2. But if you digitally filed your return, you'll still be able to get a transcript of your wage and income information by visiting IRS.gov and searching for the "Get Transcript" tool. You'll need to create a free account first before using this tool by providing information such as your Social Security number, filing status, date of birth and the mailing address that you listed on your most recent tax return.
You can also download and/or print IRS Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return) to request your W-2 information, free of charge. After completing this form, mail it to the address in the instructions that corresponds to the state where you live, or fax it to the number listed for your state. The IRS will mail your transcript to your address of record.
IRS W-2 Paper Copy
If you filed a paper tax return and attached a paper W-2 to the return, the IRS notes that the fastest way to get a copy of your current W-2 is to contact your employer who issued it to you. If that's not an option, you can also request this form online by printing IRS Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return). There's a fee, however, of $43 to do this. Taxpayers who have been adversely affected by a natural disaster are exempt from this fee by writing the name of the disaster at the top of Form 4506 in red.
Because employers submit W-2s to the Social Security Administration (SSA) before the SSA transmits the federal tax information to the IRS, you can also get a copy of your W-2 from the SSA W2 database. Although you cannot request or receive a copy of your W-2 online, you will have to go online to print a form if you're paying for this service with a credit or debit card. The SSA offers this service at no charge if you need a copy of your W-2 for a Social Security-related reason, but you'll have to fork over $90 if you need the form or a non-SSA-related reason.
If you're paying with a credit or debit card, visit SSA.gov and search for Form SSA-714. Print and complete the form before sending it with your written request for a copy of your W-2 to Social Security Administration, Office of Central Operations, Office of Earnings and International Operations, P. O. Box 33006, Baltimore, MD, 21290-3003
- eFile: Income Tax Return, Efile Statistics
- Internal Revenue Service: Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement)
- IRS: Welcome to Get Transcript
- IRS: Form 4506-T
- IRS: Form 4506
- IRS: Home Page
- IRS: Topic No. 159 - How to Get a Wage and Income Transcript or Copy of Form W-2
- Social Security Administration: How Can I Get a Copy of My Wage and Tax Statements (Form W-2)?
- Social Security Administration: Form SSA-714
- Social Security Administration: Home Page