How to Get a Copy of Your W-2 (Quickly!)

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Written By Online Figure

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There are lots of reasons why you might need a copy of your W-2. Maybe it’s for a FAFSA application or a new job application or tax refunds. Whatever your reason for getting a W-2 copy, the quicker you get it, the better it is for you.

Please note that the IRS retains the original copy of your W-2. Also, copies of your W-2 are only available if you filed paper forms. If you filed your W-2 electronically, then you can get a W-2 transcript online instead.

A W-2 transcript will have all the federal information that an employer reports to the SSA. It works just as a W-2 copy.

If you’re looking for a copy of your W-2, there are a couple of ways you can obtain it. Read on and find out how you can get a copy of your W-2 to fulfill your obligations.

How to Obtain a W-2 Copy or Transcript

There are a few ways you can obtain your W-2 copy from the IRS. Unfortunately, the IRS isn’t known for its fast response. However, thanks to the internet and modern technology, getting a copy of your W-2 is as easy as getting online and downloading it.

Here are ways you can obtain your W-2 online:-

Online Request

Getting your W-2 copy online is the easiest and most convenient way to do so. All you need is a computer and a stable internet connection. Here’s how you do it.

First, go to the IRS website; you can use either a computer or a smart device like a phone or tablet. On the website, find the “Get Your Tax Records” tab. Doing so takes you to a page that will instruct you on how to get your W-2 copy.

Before you make your online request, here’s everything you need:-

  • A mobile number with your name on the account
  • A social security number and your filing status
  • A working email address that you used when filing your last return
  • Other personal details

After entering these, you can get your W-2 transcript. All transcripts are made available for viewing, downloading, and printing. Plus, you also get a username and a password so that you can return and view your tax transcripts whenever you want.

Alternatively, you can obtain W-2 copies from third-parties. Not that they will get them on your behalf, think of these services as middlemen between you and the IRS. Third-parties are much easier and save you the hassle of the usual procedure.

If you want to get w2 online quickly, then you should try one of these services. Just don’t trust any company with your personal information. Ensure you do your research before choosing a company to help you get your W-2 copies.

Via Mail

As of now, The IRS has stopped sending W-2 transcripts or copies via mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To get a W-2 through your mail, you have to submit a request for a copy of your tax return through form 4506.

You’ll have to pay a tiny processing fee for the services. The IRS will take about 75 days to complete your request. Allow a few extra days for delivery to your mailbox.

Phone Request

You can also request a copy of your W-2 or tax transcripts by telephone. All you have to do is call the IRS on their phone number, 1-800-908-9946. Follow the prompts until you reach the “return transcript option.”

A telephone request is much faster than getting a copy through the mail. It ‘s, however, very slow when you compare it to getting them online.  During the call, you’ll be asked a couple of things, so make sure you have the following information at hand.

  1. Your (or the filer’s) social security number and other details
  2. The address on the filer’s form. You will enter this on your phone during the call. Don’t worry about the Zipcode or any symbols and alphabet. They only need the number for verification purposes.
  3. Whether you want a “return transcript” or an “account transcript.”

If all goes well, you can expect to get a copy of your W-2 or tax transcripts within five to ten business days. It may delay, but it won’t take more than two weeks for you to get your documents.

Difference Between Transcripts and Copies

There’s a lot of confusion about whether transcripts and copies of tax returns are the same things. They essentially give the same information, but there are some differences between the two.

What Are Tax Transcripts?

Tax transcripts are comprehensive tax reports that contain federal tax information that an employer reports annually.  They are available for W-2s, 5498s, 1098, and 1099 series.

Transcripts are available for the last ten tax years. To get a transcript, you must register online and also verify your identity. So you can’t get your transcripts online as a guest.

Please note that transcripts don’t contain local information like state, residence, et cetera. For that, you need an actual copy of the W-2.

What Are Tax Copies?

As mentioned earlier, you can’t get the original W-2 form when you attach it to your paper tax return. Instead, the IRS will send you copies of the entire tax return.  You have to fill in a 4506, which is a formal request for the W-2 copies.

You have to pay $50 to obtain these W-2 copies. For requests where a federal disaster impacts taxpayers, the IRS waives the $50 fee. You only have to state the name of the disaster at the top of the 4506 form.

Most people would prefer actual W-2 copies because they are more comprehensive than tax transcripts.

Getting Your W-2 Copy Is as Easy as a Click of Your Computer Mouse

As you can see, getting a W-2 copy isn’t as difficult as you’d think. However, you have to be clear whether you need actual copies of your W-2 or tax transcripts.

Getting your W-2 copies online is the easiest and most convenient way to do so. However, if you’re not in such a hurry, you could settle for the alternative methods.

For more explainers and informative reads, make a point of checking out our other articles.