Requesting a Transcript
You should 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 need them if you have to amend a prior year’s tax return. You often need them when you apply for a loan to buy a home or to start a business. Or, you may need them to apply for student financial aid. If you can’t find your copies, the IRS can give you a transcript of the information you need, or a copy of your tax return. Here’s how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:
- Transcripts are free. 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 is a summary of 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 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 also includes any changes that you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it.
- The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to use the Get Transcript application. Once you verify your identity, you will be able to view and print your transcript immediately online. This Fact Sheet provides details on how to complete this step.
- If you’re unable or prefer not to use Get Transcript Online, you may order a tax return transcript and/or a tax account transcript using the online tool Get Transcript by Mail or by calling 800-908-9946. Transcripts arrive at the address we have on file for you in five to 10 calendar days from the time IRS receives your request.
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.
Copy of Your Tax Return
There are different ways to obtain tax return information. Most requests can be satisfied with a computer printout of your return information called a transcript. There are times when you need an exact copy of a previously filed and processed tax return with all attachments (including Form W-2). In this case, you should complete Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the address listed in the instructions, along with a $50 fee for each tax return requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed for the current and past six years. On jointly filed tax returns, either spouse may request a copy and only one signature is required.
- Make your check or money order payable to the United States Treasury
- Enter your SSN, ITIN, or EIN and “Form 4506 request” on your check or money order
- Allow 75 calendar days for us to process your request
If you are a taxpayer impacted by a federally declared disaster, the IRS waives the usual fees and expedites requests for copies of tax returns for people who need them to apply for benefits or to file amended returns claiming disaster-related losses. For additional information, refer to Topic 107 or call the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline at 866-562-5227.