Sometimes, you may need to find out your total income from the previous year. For example, you often need it when you're applying for a mortgage or filing for an educational scholarship. Instead of poring over all your old paychecks, bank stubs and other financial documents, simply check the Internal Revenue Service's database. There, you'll find your adjusted gross income---this is your "true" financial intake that includes your gross income plus any other benefits, like alimony---as reported and calculated on your tax filing from last year.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Call the Internal Revenue Service's reorder hotline toll-free at 800-829-1040.
Follow the pre-recorded prompts---the specific numbers you'll need to press change often---to request a tax return transcript mailed to you. This transcript is free and includes most of the information found on your previous tax return. The Internal Revenue Service reports that this transcript should suffice if you need official documentation showing last year's income for the purpose of loans, scholarships and other financial transactions.
Review the tax return transcript once it arrives via first class mail. To find your adjusted gross income from last year, look for the "Adjusted Gross Income" header on the transcript, which will appear just like it does on your regular tax return. For the tax year of 2009, check line 37 if you filed IRS form 1040; line 21 if you filed a 1040A; and line 4 if you filed a 1040EZ.
Tips and warnings
- If, for some reason, your financial institution or employer won't accept the income numbers reported on your IRS tax transcript, you can order an exact replica of your filed tax forms and processed tax return, including any attachments like your W2 form. To order it, fill out IRS Form 4506 (see Resources) and mail it to the address listed on the form. Unlike a transcript, the IRS charges a fee. This fee is £37, as of 2010, and must be paid via check or money order made out to the "United States Treasury."
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