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Tax Tip: How to get your prior year tax information from the IRS

A tax tip from IRS.gov

Taxpayers who need certain prior year tax return information can obtain it from the IRS. Here are nine things to know if you need federal tax return information from a previously filed tax return.

1) There are three options for obtaining free copies of your federal tax return information — on the web, by phone or by mail.

2) The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts, which are presently available for the current tax year as well as the past three tax years.

3) A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules.  It does not reflect any changes made after the return was filed.

4) A tax account transcript shows any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after the tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data — including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

5) To request either transcript online, go to http://www.irs.gov and look for our new online tool called Order A Transcript. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message.

6) To request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript through the mail, complete IRS Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses, partnerships and individuals who need transcript information from other forms or need a tax account transcript must use the Form 4506T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

7) If you order online or by phone, you should receive your tax return transcript within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail using Form 4506T or Form 4506T-EZ.

8) If you still need an actual copy of a previously processed tax return, it will cost $57 for each tax year that you order. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area.  Copies are generally available for the current year as well as the past six years. Please allow 60 days for actual copies of your return.

9) Visit http://www.irs.gov to determine which form will meet your needs. Forms 4506, 4506T and 4506T-EZ can be found at http://www.irs.gov or by calling the IRS forms and publications order line at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). 

Links:

  • Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return (PDF 45.3K)
  • Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Form (PDF 42.3K)

Remember that all of the web page addresses for the official IRS website, IRS.gov, begin with http://www.irs.gov. Don’ t be confused or misled by Internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is http://www.irs.gov/.


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