Friday, February 18, 2011

Need Prior Year Tax Information from the IRS?

Taxpayers who need certain prior year tax return information can obtain it from the IRS. In fact, you can order the current year transcript and the past three years for free.

The tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. However, any changes made after the return was filed will not be reflected on this type of transcript.

The tax account transcript is designed to show the adjustments you or the IRS made after your tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data; including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

Several options are available to order transcripts:
  • Use the new online tool, Order A Transcript.
  • Call 1-800-908-9946 to order by phone.
  • Use these forms to receive tax return information in the mail:
    • 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, for a tax return transcript.
    • 4506T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, for a business, partnership or individual tax account transcript.
    • 4506, Request for an exact copy of a previously filed and processed tax return and all attachments, including W-2s.
If you order online or by phone, you should receive your tax return transcript within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail using Form 4506T or Form 4506T-EZ.

If you need an exact copy of a previously filed and processed tax return and all attachments (including Form W-2), you should complete 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the address listed in the instructions, along with a $57.00 fee for each tax period requested. The check or money order for the fee should be made payable to the "United States Treasury". Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past six years. Copies of jointly filed tax returns may be requested by either spouse and only one signature is required. Allow 60 calendar days to receive your copies.

Forms can be downloaded by using the following links or ordered by calling 800-829-3676. If you are a taxpayer impacted by a federally declared disaster, the IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite 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, Tax Relief Disaster Situations, or call the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline at 866-562-5227.

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