I Can’t Find my W-2!

I Can’t Find My W-2!

By: Linda Lehman, Senior Assistant Accountant

As an employer, you have issued W-2s.  Now you are getting requests for duplicate copies from employees who have not received them, or have misplaced them.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • The request for a duplicate W-2 needs to be in writing; an email is fine. The request must be from the employee (not a spouse or parent/child).


  • The duplicate W-2 must have REISSUED STATEMENT at the top of the form.


  • Ask the employee to sign for the duplicate W-2. If that is not practical you can mail the W-2 using a method which shows tracking & receipt of the duplicate W-2.


  • Keep a copy of the request & documentation of the re-issued W-2 in the employee’s personnel file.


  • There is no filing requirement to notify the Social Security Administration, nor any state or local agencies, that a duplicate W-2 was issued.


What if the W-2 was returned to the employer with an incorrect address?  Here’s how to handle this situation:


  • Employees often forget to notify their employer when they move. Only when they realize they have not received their W-2 it is discovered the employer has an incorrect address.


  • If the employee contacts you about a missing W-2 and provides a new address (in writing) you should re-mail it as soon as you can. The original W-2 should be kept in the original envelope (showing proof that it was mailed timely) and placed into another envelope with the new address.


  • Prior to re-mailing the W-2, employers should make a copy of the envelope and document when it was re-mailed to the employee.


  • If you don’t receive a request from the employee about a missing W-2, the returned W-2 should be kept in the original envelope for four years. This documents the W-2 was sent to the employee as required.


  • The employee’s personnel file would be the best place to keep this documentation.