How to Get Your Old IRS Forms W-2 and 1099


People often need copies of their old Forms W-2 or 1099.

Here are some common reasons:

  • Filing back tax returns
  • Applying for loans or benefits
  • Identifying where you had bank or retirement accounts
  • Documenting transactions or income for legal proceedings
  • Tracing your income history

The IRS has them for the past 10 years – here’s how to get them

There’s a quick way to get all the information statements filed under your taxpayer identification number (usually, your Social Security Number) for the past 10 years.

Just ask the IRS for your wage and income transcript.

The IRS keeps a record of 36 types of information statements that it gets from third parties like your employer, financial institutions, and other people who pay you.

Here are some examples:

  • Forms W-2 for wages (W-2G for gambling winnings)
  • Forms 1099 for other types of income (self-employment, investment, social security, pension, stock sales, etc.)
  • Forms 1098 for certain expenses (education, mortgage interest, etc.)
  • Forms 5498 for retirement accounts

You can’t get last year’s transcript until after the April filing due date. So, for 2017, you can get your wage and income transcript in May 2018.

While you can’t use last year’s wage and income transcripts for the April filing deadline, you can use them to prepare and file an extended return by Oct. 15.

Having this information to file is a big help

Wage and income transcripts help you make sure you’re reporting all your income. This avoids IRS notices about missing income.

FYI: This is a common problem. Twenty-seven million taxpayers don’t report all their W-2 and 1099 income every year.

You can get this transcript in four ways

1. Mail Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, to the IRS.

This form allows you to request the wage and income transcript and a transcript of your tax return or tax account activity. The transcripts will arrive in about three weeks.

2. Order your transcript by phone or online to be delivered by mail.

Call (800) 908-9946 or go to Get Transcript by Mail. Transcripts will arrive in about 10 days.

3. Use IRS Get Transcript.

Set up an IRS account and download your transcripts online. Beware – taxpayers have been able to pass the strict authentication process only 30% of the time.

4. Outsource it all to a tax pro.

You can authorize your tax pro to contact the IRS and get your transcript for you. Tax pros have their own online accounts with the IRS and a dedicated hotline. An experienced tax pro can also help you interpret the information.

Learn more about how to research your IRS account or get help from a trusted IRS expert. Make an appointment for a free consultation with a local tax professional by calling 855-536-6504 or finding a local tax pro.

Get help from an IRS expert

H&R Block’s experts can solve any IRS problem, no matter how complex.

Make an appointment

Or call 855-536-6504

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