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How Can I Get a Copy of My W-2?

Have you lost your W-2? Not filed your prior year tax returns and can’t locate your tax documents? The Social Security Administration can give you copies/printouts of your Forms W-2 for any year from 1978 to the present. The IRS has the information in free electronic format for 10 years.

Per the SSA website FAQs , you can get free copies if you need them for a Social Security-related reason. However, there is a fee of $37 for each year if you need them for an unrelated reason (such as completing your income tax returns).

The Internal Revenue Service will give you a W-2 transcript for free. See IRS Prior Year W-2 info. However, the free IRS information does not include your state tax withholding information which could be needed to complete your state tax return. The IRS only retains actual copies of Form W-2 as an attachment to your tax return for prior years. So to order an actual copy of the W-2 from the IRS use Form 4506 and pay the $50 fee.

When you write to the SSA, be sure to include:

  • Your Social Security number;
  • The exact name shown on your Social Security card;
  • Any different names shown on your W-2;
  • Your complete mailing address;
  • The year(s) for which you need copies;
  • Your daytime telephone number; and
  • The reason for your request. If you don’t have a Social Security related reason, you will owe the $37 fee for each year.

Send your request with a check or money order payable to the Social Security Administration. Please include your Social Security number on the check or money order. You also can pay with a credit card by completing Form-714. Regular credit card rules apply.

Please send your request to:

Social Security Administration
Office of Central Operations
Division of Earnings and Business Services
P.O. Box 33003
Baltimore, MD 21290-3003

By Melinda Nelson, CPA