How to Retrieve W-2 Forms Online

A W-2 form details an employee's income and withholding for a particular year. The issuer sends an employee and the Social Security Administration a W-2 at the beginning of the year following the close of a tax year. If an employee needs to access w2 forms online, it is easy to get them from their employer or by contacting the IRS.

What Is a W-2 Form?

Salaried or hourly employees will receive a W-2 form from their employer detailing their wages and withholdings for a calendar year. Employers will ask an employee to fill out a W-4 form when starting a job to collect personal information and calculate how much tax to withhold. At the end of the year, that business issues a W-2 for you to use when reporting employee tax and wage information to the Internal Revenue Service at the beginning of the next calendar year.

A W-2 provides a company's Employer Identification Number and state ID number, as well as information as it relates to the employee – that person's name, address, gross wages and deductions from that income. On the right side of the form, box 1 shows the wages paid, box 2 shows the amount of federal tax withheld, and boxes 3 through 11 show various other deductions including Social Security tax, Medicare tax and state income tax.

How to Find My W-2 Online

If an employee needs to retrieve a W-2 online, the easiest way to get it is by entering his personal information into an employer's or payroll company's website. If, for some reason, he can't get a copy from his employer, the IRS will supply him with one for a small fee. He can go to the IRS website, and under “Forms and Instructions,” click on “Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return.” Print it out, complete it and mail it in with his fee. It may take up to 75 days for the IRS to process this request.

While he can't get a copy of your W-2 online via the IRS, he can get his tax transcript online via its website. Click “Get Your Tax Record” and fill out the required information to register an account with IRS if he doesn't already have one. This will include his Social Security number, date of birth, filing status, last mailing address, email address, phone number, and personal account numbers from credit cards, mortgages, home loans, home equity loans, a home equity line of credit or car loan if they apply. He will see options for retrieving his tax transcripts after entering that information.

Requesting a Corrected W-2 Form

If an employee has a disagreement with your employer about any of the information on her W-2, she can ask for a corrected form. If her employer does not want to retrieve W-2 forms for her, she can contact the IRS to file a complaint via its website or by phone at 1-800-829-1040. It will send a letter to that business demanding she get a corrected W-2 within 10 days. In the event she doesn't receive it by the time she does her taxes, the IRS will furnish her with Form 4852, which she can use as a substitute for a W-2 when filing her taxes.

When Is a W-2 Sent Out?

After the creation of a W-2 form, an employee must receive a W-2 by January 31, of the year after the tax year applicable. The Social Security Administration should also receive the W-2 by that date.


  • An employee can retrieve a copy of their W-2 by accessing their employer's website or a payroll company's website. They can also request a copy from the IRS by paying a fee, filling out a form and mailing it in.

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