How to Track Down My W-2

by Pamela Gardapee ; Updated July 27, 2017

Items you will need

  • Employer personal information
  • Last check stub for the year
  • Form 4868
  • Form 4852

W-2 forms are mailed or given to employees by January 31 of the following tax year. W-2 forms have your gross earning, federal, state and Social Security and Medicare deductions. Any other deductions such as health or 40lK contributions are also included on the W-2. If you haven’t received a W-2 for the prior tax year by the end of January, you must track down your W-2 so you can file your tax returns.

Step 1

Contact the employer from whom you are missing the W-2 form. If you have moved and never changed your address with the employer or the post office, you might not receive the W-2 in the mail. Undelivered W-2 forms are returned to the sender.

Step 2

Stop at your old address and ask if the W-2 was delivered if your employer doesn’t have the form. If you can’t track down your W-2 this way, you will need to talk to your employer again.

Step 3

Ask your employer for a copy of the W-2 if the employer didn’t receive the W-2 back from the post office. Most employers will not have a problem issuing a W-2C, which is a copy of the original W-2 you were issued. If you can’t find the employer or the employer doesn’t issue a copy of the W-2, continue to the next step.

Step 4

Contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 after February 14 if you still don’t have a W-2 from the employer. You need to give the agent the employer's phone number, address and name. You need to give your employment dates and an estimate of your earning and deductions. Year-to-date earnings can be found on most paycheck stubs. You will need the last paycheck stub for tax year or the last paycheck stub you received after leaving that employer.

Step 5

Wait for the employer to send you a W-2C after the IRS has time to contact the employer. If the employer still doesn’t send a W-2 by April 15, you will need to file your taxes using form 4852 by April 15 (April 18 in 2011) or file form 4858 Application for Automatic Extension, which gives you until October 15 to file your tax return.

About the Author

Pamela Gardapee is a writer with more than seven years experience writing Web content. Being functional in finances, home projects and computers has allowed Gardapee to give her readers valuable information. She studied accounting, computers and writing before offering her tax, computer and writing services to others.