How to get prior year tax info from the IRS
If you failed to keep records of past tax returns, the IRS offers several different ways to get tax return information or an actual copy of your return for prior years. Here are your options:
- Tax Return Transcript. This shows most line items from your tax return as originally filed, along with any forms and schedules from your return. This transcript does not reflect any changes made to the return after you filed it. Tax return transcripts are free.
- Tax Account Transcript. This shows any adjustments made by you or the IRS after filing your return. This transcript shows basic data, like marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income. Tax account transcripts also are free.
- Tax Return Copies. Actual copies of your tax returns are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee for each copy you order is $57. (Ed. note: Yikes!)
To request a copy of your tax return, complete Form 4506, available from the IRS website: Form 4506. Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area.
The turnaround time for online and phone orders is typically 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail, and allow 60 days when ordering actual copies of your tax return by mail.