How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ed Johnson Your Own Question
Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  GPHR Cert; U.S. Treasury Tax Advocacy Panel appointee
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Ed Johnson is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How do I retrieve previous W-2s?

Customer Question

I was in the Army in 2004-2005 deployed in Iraq. While I was there it was Tax season and I never filed taxes for the two years that I was affected. How can I receive those old W-2 forms so I can file years?

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  David Schneider replied 10 years ago.

You can get the information you need from the IRS. Call them and ask for a copy of the data on your "information return master file". Though not actual W-2s, it can be used to file a tax return.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.

I already tried to go through the IRS but they gave me a big runaround. I even used their website but it was not helpful at all. Do you have a phone number where I can actually talk to a real person because I keep getting machines? Thank you.

Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 10 years ago.

You can go to your nearest military post and ask the finance office for a copy of your W-2 for those years.

If you were in the reserve, you can obtain past year W-2 by using the services at:

If your nearest military finance office is not able to help you, the only way you can get a copy of your W-2, is from the Social Security Administration office. While the IRS may keep a data tape, it does not keep copies of the W-2, except for as part of an already filed return.

The IRS will send you to the Social Security Administration to obtain a copy. I always have somewhat better luck contacting the SSA than the IRS.

Please try these directions taken from the IRS web site:

Topic 159 - Prior Year(s) Form W-2 (How to Get a Copy of)

The IRS does not retain actual copies of Form W-2 (PDF) except as an attachment to your tax return, for prior years. However, the IRS maintains (and will provide free of charge) Form W-2 information for any purpose for the past ten processing years. The only way to get a copy of your Form W-2 from IRS is to order a copy of the entire return on Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, and pay a fee of $39.00 per tax year.

The Social Security Administration will provide copies of Forms W-2 for retirement purposes at no charge and for other then retirement purposes for a fee.

Call 1-***-***-****, or visit the IRS web site at to obtain Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T (PDF), Request for Transcript of Tax Return, to order the information from the IRS.

Call 1-***-***-****, or visit the SSA web site at for instructions on how to obtain wage information from the SSA.

Ed Johnson, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience: GPHR Cert; U.S. Treasury Tax Advocacy Panel appointee
Ed Johnson and 3 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you