How to Obtain Old W-2 Records

Obtain old W-2 records.

If you are audited by the IRS or need to refile your taxes for a previous year, you need your old W-2 records to properly calculate your income taxes. Employers send W-2 records to employees at the end of each calendar year. These forms note earnings, taxes paid and Social Security contributions. You can obtain old W-2 records with perseverance and by knowing where to look.

Step 1

Call your accountant or tax preparer and ask him for your old W-2 records. Accountants and tax preparers typically keep client tax records for a specific period of years depending on the firm.

Step 2

Place a call to your employers who issued the W-2 records. Speak to representatives with your employers' human resources departments, ask them to resend your W-2 records for the years you need and make sure they have your correct mailing address. You typically receive your W-2 records from these employers within about two weeks. If you do not receive them within this time frame, follow up with your human resources department to inquire about their status. There is no law dictating the time frame of sending old W-2 records.

Step 3

Fill out an IRS Form 4506 for requesting a copy of your tax returns (see Resources). Provide personal information such as your name, address and Social Security Number. Enter the years for which you request copies of your tax returns, which include old W-2 records, and sign the bottom of the forms. Write a check or purchase a money order in the amount of the fee indicated on the form ($57) per tax return you request. Mail the completed Form 4506 along with payment to the IRS address printed on the instructions for completing the form based on in which state you live. Receive your old W-2 records by mail within 60 days.

Step 4

Visit your local Social Security Administration office to obtain old W-2 records, if the purpose for obtaining the documents is related to an official Social Security matter. If you do not know where your closest SSA office is, click on the office locator tool in the Resources section, type in your zip code, click "Submit" and view the results of the nearest offices. Tell an SSA representative that you want to obtain old W-2 records related to a Social Security matter, fill out an application to receive such information and provide the representative with your driver's license to prove your identity. There typically is no fee for this service. The SSA will either mail you your old W-2 records, or you may pick them up at your local SSA office. The SSA will not provide you with old W-2 records unless it is related to an official Social Security matter.

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