How to Get a Copy of Old Tax Returns

Written by leigh thompson
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How to Get a Copy of Old Tax Returns
The IRS will provide copies of old tax returns for a fee. (tax forms image by Chad McDermott from

The IRS recommends keeping copies of your tax returns for 3 to 7 years depending on the type of return you filed. Individuals who have purged their records may need a copy of an old tax return. Certain situations that require tax returns include mortgage loan applications, retirement forms and income verification. The method used to obtain your tax return varies depending on the medium used to file the return.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return

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  1. 1

    Log in to the website that electronically filed your tax return. Use the log in and password you created when you e-filed your return. Select the option to view past tax returns. Select the tax return year and print the return.

  2. 2

    Contact your accountant. Request a copy of your tax return.

  3. 3

    Complete form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. This form is available at (see Resources). You can contact the IRS at 800-829-3676 to have the forms sent to you. Fill out the application by supplying your identifying information: name, social security number and mailing address. Include the tax return year that is being requested and the type of return that was filed.

  4. 4

    Pay the fee. The fee amount is shown on form 4506. The check should be paid to the order of the "United States Treasury." Indicate on the check that it is for a 4506 request.

  5. 5

    Submit the 4506 form by mail or fax. You can find the mailing address or fax number on the second page of the form. The address varies depending on your geographical location.

  6. 6

    Contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 to request a copy of your tax return by phone. Supply the operator with your identifying information, the type of tax return you are requesting and the year.

  7. 7

    Contact the IRS after 60 calendar days to check the status of your request.

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