Getting a Copy of an Old Tax Return

In some cases, you will need to access your prior year tax information.  For example, it was mentioned in the previous post that you can file an amended return up to three years after the originally filing date if you have discovered an error.  If you had a professional do your taxes for you, that person may have copies available.  If this is not an option, you will need to contact the IRS to access your tax information.

Your first option is a Tax Return Transcript, which is available for the current tax year and the previous three tax years. These transcripts show most line items on your tax return, but only show original filing information and do not include any changes or amendments made after the return was filed.  If you need additional information, you will need to request a Tax Account Transcript, which provides more basic information than what is shown on the Tax Return Transcript in addition to any post-filing changes made.  Currently, these transcripts are free of charge and can be ordered via the IRS website (, by phone (800-908-9946), or by mail after completing Form 4506T-EZ (

While Tax Return and Tax Account Transcripts will satisfy most people’s needs, a third option is available for anyone who needs an official copy of a previous tax return.  These are available for the past six tax years and cost $57 for each tax return ordered.  You can obtain these by filling out Form 4506 ( and mailing it to the address listed on the form.  The fee will need to be paid via check or money order, made out to the United States Treasury.  These documents may take up to 60 days to be mailed back to you.

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