How to Obtain the Past Year's W-2 from the IRS

Every January, your employer sends you an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2, typically in triplicate or quadruplicate. It is a report of your earnings and taxes withheld, among other data. Naturally, you do your best to keep tax documents, even for years prior to the current filing year. But if you move house or fall victim to a natural disaster, for example, you might lose track of one or more Forms W-2. The IRS can provide you with W-2 information from past years.

Download Form 4506-T from the IRS website. You can also write to the IRS to request the form.

Fill out the form with your name, Social Security number and address. Check off the box on the line that pertains to requesting Form W-2. Fill in the year of the form you are requesting.

Sign and date the form and mail or fax it to the IRS. IRS mailing addresses and fax numbers for residents of each state are listed in Form 4506T instructions.


  • You cannot get Form W-2 data from the IRS for the immediately previous year. For example, if you want Form W-2 information from 2012, you have to wait until the year 2014 to request it.
  • The W-2 data you receive will not include your state and local tax information.

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D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.