The W-2 form is an annual earnings statement that employers provide both to their employees and to the IRS at the end of each tax year, notes Intuit.com. Because employers provide this form to their employees, those who are in need of a copy of the W-2 may be able to obtain free copies from their employers. There are other ways to request a copy of the W-2 form, including requesting a copy from the IRS, although there is usually a fee associated with these requests.
The fastest means of obtaining a copy of a W-2 is to ask one's employer, as stated on IRS.gov. Because employers may not charge for this copy, this may be the most efficient means of obtaining a copy of a W-2. However, those who must seek other means can order a copy of their entire tax return from the IRS.
The IRS does not provide W-2 copies as standalone documents. The cost for requesting a full copy of one's return may vary from year to year. As of 2015, the fee is $50, and the individual requesting the copy of the tax return must fill out IRS Form 4506. The request must be submitted by mail along with the fee. The IRS may take as many as 75 days to respond to the request.