The sooner you submit your income tax return, the sooner you will be able to get your refund. Getting your Form W-2 directly from your employer early is one way to do that. By law, your employer doesn't have to give you your W-2 before the IRS deadline, but it shouldn't be a big deal to ask your HR or accounting department for W-2 early access. If they still won't help you out, you have other options, as well.
Reviewing how to get your W-2 early from different sources will help you get a jump on filing this year.
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Consider Also: W-2 Forms: What It Is, Who Gets One & How It Works
What Is a W-2?
When you come on board at a company as an employee, you'll be asked to fill out a Form W-4 as part of your onboarding process. This will let your employer know how much tax should be taken out of your paycheck each time. Your pay stubs will show you your gross pay for the period, how much money was taken out and what the deductions were for.
You will have federal income taxes, FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare), state taxes and any benefits deducted. You'll then see your net take-home pay for the period. At the end of the year, your employer will generate a Form W-2 for you, which shows your annual pay and deductions.
When Do You Get Your W-2 Form?
Employers are required to provide employees with W-2s by January 31 of the following year the money was earned. If you are a contractor or investor, you should also receive any Form 1099s you are required to receive from clients or other entities required to report your income. If you do not receive your W-2 by January 31, contact your employer (in writing, if possible) and let them know.
Consider Also: Form 1040: What You Need to Know
W-2 Early Access
If you want to get a head start on your taxes and file them early to avoid the annual rush, ask your HR or accounting department if you can get your W-2 early. If you work at a smaller company, this might be an easy, informal request. Even so, let your company know you'll keep this quiet so that the accounting or HR department doesn't get a stampede of employees asking for W-2 early access.
You can also try external sources for your W-2. For example, TurboTax, H&R Block and ADP have options to upload your W-2 into their systems, but this doesn't mean your employer will have submitted your W-2 early.
At H&R Block's W-2 Early Access portal, you can look up your employer and, if H&R Block has the information for that company, you'll enter your personal information to get your W-2. Have your Social Security number, your last pay stub from the previous year (with your employer information on it) and last year's tax return amount due available.