If you have a big refund coming from the IRS, you do not want to wait to file your taxes. But before you can file your tax return and claim the money you have coming, you first need to get access to the W2 from your employer. Fortunately there are a number of ways to access your W2 online, and that online access allows you to start your tax return right away.
Tax Prep Software
Many tax preparation software packages allow you to look up your W2 form online by providing the name of your employer, your name and your Social Security number. If your employer has already filed your W2, you can look it up online this way and start filing your taxes right away, without waiting for the paper form to arrive in your mailbox.
If your company maintains an internal website workers can use to view their paychecks, chances are good that the W2 forms are posted online as well. Log on to the website you use to review your paychecks and look for a W2 link. Contact your human resources department if you do not see the W2 form link online.
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Preliminary Tax Planning
One of the benefits of having your W2 form available is that it allows you to do some preliminary tax planning. Figuring your taxes and planning your taxes long before the due date gives you the opportunity to make last minute changes that can save you money. Tax preparation software can be very helpful here, especially since many tax software packages allow you to start your return for free and only pay when you actually file your return.
Compute Your Refund
After you have your W2 information, you can estimate the amount of the refund you are due, or the amount of taxes you still have to pay. If you had interest income but do not yet have your 1099 forms, you can estimate those interest payments by reviewing your most recent bank statement and using the year to date interest figure. You can use your favorite tax preparation software package to enter your figures and compute your refund, or you can do it the old fashioned way with a paper tax form and a calculator.