Special Edition Tax Tip 2015-16, July 31, 2015
The IRS recommends that you always keep a copy of your tax return for your records. You may need copies of your filed tax returns for many reasons. For example, they can help you prepare future tax returns. You’ll also need them if you have to amend a prior year tax return. You often need them when you apply for a loan to buy a home or to start a business. You may need them if you apply for student financial aid.
If you can’t find your copies, the IRS can provide a transcript of the tax information you need, or a copy of your tax return. Here’s more information, including how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:
- 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.
- A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return that you filed. It also includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules that you filed. It doesn’t reflect any changes you or the IRS may have made after you filed your original return.
- A tax account transcript includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income. It does include any changes that you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it.
- You can order your free transcripts online, by phone, by mail or fax at this time.
- The IRS has temporarily stopped the online functionality of the Get Transcript application process on the IRS.gov website that delivered your transcript immediately. The IRS is making modifications and further strengthening security for the online service. While you can still use the Get Transcript tool to order your transcript, the IRS will send it to you via mail to the last address we have on file for you.
- To order your transcript online and have it delivered by mail, go to IRS.gov and use the Get Transcript tool.
- To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
- 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.
- You should receive your transcript within five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request. Please note that ordering your transcript online or over the phone are the quickest options.
- Keep in mind that the method you used to file your return and whether you have a refund or balance due affects your current year transcript availability. Use this chart to determine when you can order your transcript.
- If you need a copy of your filed and processed tax return, it will cost $50 for each tax year. You should 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. You should allow 75 days for delivery.
Mortgage Applicants. If you are applying for a mortgage, most mortgage companies only require a tax return transcript for income verification purposes and participate in our IVES (Income Verification Express Service) program. If you need to order a transcript, please follow the process described above and have it mailed to the address we have on file for you. Please plan accordingly and allow for time for delivery.
Disaster Victims. 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.
Financial Aid Applicants. If you are applying for financial aid, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website to import your tax return information to your financial aid application. The temporary shutdown of the Get Transcript tool does not affect the Data Retrieval Tool. You may also click on their help page for more information.
If you need a copy of your transcript you should follow the information above to request it as soon as possible. It takes 5 to 10 calendar days for transcripts to arrive at the address the IRS has on file for you.
Identity Theft Victims. Did you receive a notice from the IRS about a suspicious return? Has the IRS notified you that it did not accept your e-filed return because of a duplicate Social Security Number? If you answered yes to either question, then you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft. If you are a tax-related identity theft victim you first need to file the Identity Theft Affidavit. If you are waiting for the IRS to resolve your case but need a transcript, you will need to call our Identity Protection Specialized Unit line to process your request. You can call the Unit at 800-908-4490. For more information please review our Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.
Tax forms are available 24/7 on IRS.gov/forms. You can also call 800-829-3676 to get them by mail.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Tax Topic 156 – Copy or Transcript of Your Tax Return – How to Get One