Information Station

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I Need a Copy of My Tax Return
Last Reviewed: 12/03/2016

Retaining copies of your federal tax return is important. Not only will you need the return in case of audit, but the tax return is often used to secure student aid, obtain loans, purchase a home or business, plus much more. What can you do if you cannot find a copy of your tax return?

  • E-filed tax returns have their data stored in software. One of the benefits of e-filed tax returns means there is a digital copy of your tax information. If necessary another digital copy could be produced.
  • IRS requested transcript. The IRS can provide you with a transcript of your current tax return or transcripts from the prior three years. To request a transcript from the IRS using their online tool go to www.irs.gov and search for their order a transcript tool. Information will be provided to you within approximately 5 to 10 business days.
  • Request an actual copy. If you require an actual copy of your tax return, one can be provided for $50 by filling out Form 4506. But plan accordingly, as it can take up to 75 days to process your request.
  • Copies of informational returns. If you are missing a W-2 or 1099 you can also contact the company that originally issued the tax form. They will have these forms on record for their own audit purposes.
  • Copies sent to third parties. Your request for transcript can also be sent to a third party with your authorization. If you wish to take this route, please note that you may lose some control as to who has this personal information.
  • Understand the different transcripts. When making a request for a transcript from the IRS you need to understand what you are requesting.
    • Return transcript. This includes most of the lines of your tax return as originally filed.
    • Account transcript. This is the status of your tax account. It includes the balance owed on your account, any record of any payments, and adjustments after the return was filed.
    • Record of account. This is a combination of the return transcript and the account transcript.

If need be, you can also request a verification of non-filing of a tax return.