Need a Copy of a Prior Year Tax Return?

Larry Villano, Publisher of Loopholelewy.com

If you need copies of your prior years' returns and can't find them, the IRS can give you a tax return transcript of the information you need or a copy of the original tax return you filed.

What You Need to Know:

  • A transcript doesn't look like the return you actually filed. It shows most line items from the tax return that you filed.
  • A transcript includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules that you filed. However, it does NOT reflect any changes you or the IRS made after you filed your original return. (To see changes made after you flled your return, see "Tax account transcripts" below.)
  • Transcripts are free and you can get them for the current year and the past three years. In most cases, a transcript includes the tax information you need.
  • Tax account transcripts provide adjustments made by you or the IRS after you filed your return and includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income.
  • You can get free transcript(s) immediately online or within five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request by phone, mail or fax.
  • To view and print your transcripts online, use the Get Transcript tool.
  • To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
  • You can also request your transcript using your smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app.
  • To request an individual tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript.
  • Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

Filed and Processed Tax Return Fee:

If you need a copy of a tax return that you filed with the IRS and was processed, it will cost $50 for each tax year. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to make the request. Mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Copies are generally available for the current year and past six years. Allow 75 days for delivery.

Federally Declared Disaster Area:

If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you can get a free copy of your tax return. Visit IRS.gov for more disaster relief information. Tax forms are available 24/7 on IRS.gov. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get them by mail.