Routine Access to IRS Records


Many types of IRS records are available through routine procedures designed to make access quick and easy. No Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is required for these records. Please see the table below for ways to access these frequently requested records.

IRS Routine Access Procedures

Send a completed Form 4506 to the address provided in the form’s instructions to receive copies of your tax returns as originally filed. IRS charges a fee of $50.00 for each copy provided. Call the IRS Forms hotline at 800-829-3676 if you need a Form 4506 mailed to you

A transcript of your account or return is free and may substitute in some situations for a copy of an original return. For example, colleges and loan originators generally accept IRS transcripts.

  • Use the Get Transcript tool.
  • Send a completed Form 4506-T. In addition to the tax return and account transcripts available through the Get Transcript tool, you may also request wage and income transcripts and a verification of non-filing letter.
  • Call 

Direct Release of Open Compliance Files – Under Internal Revenue Code § 6103(e), taxpayers and/or their authorized representative can request their open examination files directly from the IRS agent conducting the exam (hereinafter referred to as “Direct Release”) without submitting a FOIA request. There is no fee associated with a Direct Release request. Records that are provided to the taxpayer in the course of the examination and records submitted by the taxpayer are not included in the IRS response to a Direct Release request. Please see the sample Exam Direct Release Cover Letter PDF and LB&I Direct Release Requests Practice and Procedure document PDF for additional details on what is included in a Direct Release response.

NOTE: Direct Release is usually more efficient for both taxpayers and the IRS. However, “Direct Release” should not be used in parallel with FOIA for the same compliance file. Taxpayers and/or their authorized representatives are encouraged to consider whether the materials provided through “Direct Release” are sufficient for their needs. If the materials provided through Direct Release are sufficient, then “Direct Release” should be used; otherwise, a FOIA request should be made. Use of both of these processes for the same examination file results in a waste of agency resources and duplication of efforts. If a taxpayer and/or their authorized representative submits both Direct Release and a FOIA request for the same compliance file, the IRS may decline to honor future Direct Release requests from the requester, the requester’s firm, or the taxpayer on whose behalf the request is made for a period of 12 months.

  • Contact the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Hotline at 877-829-5500.
  • Send a completed Form 4506-A to the address printed on the form.
      • Copies of approved applications for tax exempt status are also obtained via Form 4506-B PDF.
    • Form 8871 and Form 8872 are available online at
    • Form 990 series returns are available online at Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS),
    • Form 990-N (e-Postcard) annual electronic notice is available for inspection at
  • Some employee plan information is available online through private research services like
  • Tax Court opinions aren't IRS records.
  • Request copies to U.S. Tax Court, 400 Second Street, NW, Washington, DC 20217.
  • Available through public legal research or library services. Opinions issued since 1995 can be retrieved from the Tax Court's opinions search page.

For records not listed here