If You Are Missing a W-2 Form
You can ask your employer to send new a copy of your W-2. Some employers charge a nominal fee for this service. Employers are required by law to keep copies of your W-2s and other payroll information for at least four years.
If You Are Missing a 1099 Form
Form 1099 reports interest, dividends, brokerage trades, and self-employment income.
Banks may have tax documents available for downloading from their web site, or you can call their customer service number to get a new 1099 mailed to you.
Your broker will be able to mail you a copy of your 1099 to report stock trading and other investment activity. Or you might be able to download a copy from the brokerage web site.
If you earned more than $600 as a consultant or independent contractor, your client is required to send you a 1099-MISC to report your income. Even if you didn't receive a 1099, you are still required to report the income to the IRS.
How to Obtain Copies of Your Tax Documents from the IRS
The IRS receives copies of all your tax documents. You can easily obtain copies of them by mail or fax.
You'll need to fill out Form 4506-T to request your income documents. This form is used to request transcripts of various tax documents. To request the income documents, check the box for line 8, "Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript."
The information will be mailed to you, and it will be a computer printout of the information contained on your various income documents. One word of caution: the IRS only retains the federal information on these forms. State and local information, such as state withholding amounts, will not show up on this transcript. After obtaining the transcript, you may want to contact the institutions shown on the transcript to obtain a copy of the original documents.
Your tax accountant is able to request these documents from the IRS for you as well, and the IRS can fax the documents to your accountant's office. If you need these documents immediately, this will likely be the fastest way to obtain your income information.
The IRS keeps your tax documents in their database for about four years, and up to ten years of documents might exist in their archives.