How to Download a W-2 to File Taxes

Some employers and payroll services provide downloadable W-2 tax forms.

Waiting for your W-2 form to arrive in the mail can be frustrating, especially if you expect a hefty refund and want to file your taxes quickly. There is an alternative – downloading your W-2 from the Web. Some of the major W-2 preparers now offer this service. Your employer must sign up for this option. Once that is done, you can contact your company's payroll department to obtain login credentials. The download process is similar to what you would use to download any other information from the Web.


Step 1

Launch your Web browser and navigate to the website of your online W-2 form provider. Your employer or payroll department will supply this information.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Locate and click the login button on the provider's website. This should take you to a login screen.

Step 3

Enter your login credentials. This may include your employer's tax ID number or account code and your own Social Security number. You might also be prompted for your name, date of birth or other information to verify your identity.


Step 4

Follow the steps given on the website to complete your registration, if you are enrolling in the service for the first time. Then, navigate to your W-2 forms.

Step 5

Review your available W-2 forms. You may only see one W-2 for the current tax year or others from previous years may also be available.

Step 6

Download and install the free Adobe Reader browser plug-in, if it is not already on your computer. Most online W-2s are in PDF format, which requires Adobe Reader to view.


Step 7

Click the link or tab to load your current W-2 form in your browser.

Step 8

Save your W-2 form to your computer by clicking the "Save" icon on the top left of the Adobe Reader screen. This icon resembles a floppy disk.

Step 9

Print your W-2 by clicking the "Print" icon on the top left of the Adobe Reader screen. This icon looks like a printer.

Step 10

Log out from your account on the W-2 form provider's website.


Some online W-2 services allow you to upload your W-2 information into tax preparation software. Check the FAQ section of the service provider’s website to determine if this feature is available.

Verify that the information on your W-2 is correct before filing your taxes. If you find an error, promptly contact your employer.


Do not attempt to modify any of the information on your online W-2 form. This information has been reported to the IRS.

For security reasons, do not log in to your account or save your W-2 form on a public computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Online W-2 service provider

  • Login credentials

  • Social Security number

  • Computer with Internet access

  • Adobe Reader (free downloadable software)

  • Printer