Need A Copy of Your Previous Year Tax Return? Here’s How!

There are several reasons to request previous year’s tax information. One of which is for purchasing a home or making any other substantial purchase. Another is if you are delinquent in filing your tax returns or just want to amend a previous year return. In this case you will need a copy of all information transmitted to the IRS such as W2’s or any of the various 1099 forms. This comes in handy if you worked multiple jobs or had a few savings or investment accounts that you might have left off of your return. Do you want to get audited? Of course not! An easy way for this to happen is to leave something off of your return that the IRS already has a copy of. Not only could you be setting yourself up for an audit, but what if you worked a job that you had taxes withheld and are actually due for a larger refund?

The IRS has a great article with 9 things you need to know about getting prior year’s tax returns. If you don’t want to read, here’s an easy to understand run-down(with links to the exact IRS forms needed):

-Obtaining copies of your federal return is FREE and there are 3 ways: web, phone or mail.

-There is no charge for transcripts, you can get these for the current year(usually after 2/15) or the previous 3 years.

-The transcript shows line items from your return as it was filed and includes any forms and schedules that were filed along with your return. It does not show any changes made after filing.

-A tax account transcript shows any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after the tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data – including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

-To request a transcript online, go to the IRS Website, specifically: Order A Transcript. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message.

-If you prefer to receive a transcript via mail you can request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript by completing IRS Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses, partnerships and individuals who need transcript information from other forms or need a tax account transcript need to use Form 4506T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

-If you order online or by phone, your tax return transcript should arrive within 5 to 10 days after the IRS receives your request. A mail request, however, takes much longer and can take 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order your transcripts by using Form 4506T or Form 4506T-EZ.

-For an actual copy of a previously processed tax return, there is a $57 fee for each tax year that you order. If you need an actual copy you must complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area.  Copies are usually available for the current year and go back as far as the past six tax years. It can take up to 60 days to receive an actual copy of your return.

Thanks for checking this out!

Keep in mind you can usually amend your previous 3 years of tax returns if you found that you can get a larger refund OR if you did not file, but by doing so you will qualify for a refund through either excess with-holdings or refundable credits you qualify for. These are some of the top-notch services that a JFTS Tax Patriot can assist you with.


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