How to Find Previous Year W-2 Forms on the IRS Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating the labyrinth of tax documents and forms can be a daunting task, especially when you’re in search of specific forms from previous years, such as the W-2 form. The W-2 form, also known as the Wage and Tax Statement, is crucial for filing your taxes as it outlines your annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck. Whether you’re an individual taxpayer needing to amend a previous year’s tax return, or a small business owner ensuring compliance with tax filings, accessing previous year W-2 forms is a necessity. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website provides a straightforward way to access these forms. Follow this step-by-step guide to locate and download W-2 forms from prior years.

Step 1: Access the IRS Website

Begin by opening your web browser and navigating to the IRS official website. Once there, you’ll be looking for the section dedicated to prior year forms and instructions. The direct link to this section isĀ This link will take you directly to the page where you can find forms and instructions for previous tax years.

Step 2: Utilize the Search Feature

Upon arriving at the “Prior Year Forms and Instructions” page, you’ll notice a search bar prominently displayed. This is your key tool for narrowing down the vast array of documents available on the IRS site. In the search bar, type “W-2” and set the items per page to “200”. This adjustment ensures that you can view all available W-2 forms on a single page, eliminating the need for excessive scrolling or navigating through multiple pages.

Step 3: Scroll Down to Find the Forms

After entering your search criteria, proceed to scroll down the page. As you do so, you’ll begin to see listings for all versions of the W-2 form from previous years. This comprehensive list includes every iteration of the W-2 form that has been released by the IRS for past tax years, making it an invaluable resource for retrieving historical tax information.

Step 4: Download the Desired W-2 Form

Once you’ve located the specific year’s W-2 form you need, click on the link provided for that form. This action will either open the form directly in your browser or initiate a download to your computer, depending on your browser settings and the file format of the form. If the form opens in your browser, you can save it to your computer by right-clicking on the document and selecting “Save as” or using the download icon typically found in the browser’s PDF viewer.

W2 Form


Retrieving previous year W-2 forms is a simple and straightforward process when you know where to look. By following these steps, you can easily access and download any W-2 form from past years directly from the IRS website. This guide aims to demystify the process and provide you with the tools you need to find essential tax documents, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for tax season or any inquiries related to past tax filings.