Small Business Taxes & Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Need a Copy of a Tax Return?


Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 2013, A/N Group, Inc.

Need a transcript or copy of a prior year's tax return? You should be saving all your tax returns. They can provide important for any number of reasons. And the more complicated your return, the more important it is to keep a copy. That's particularly true for business owners, active investors, etc. Switching return preparers? It's probably the first question the new preparer will ask.

But what can you do if you don't have a copy? Taxpayers who need their past tax return information can obtain it from the IRS. Here's a quick summary of the what you need to know.

There are two easy and convenient options for obtaining free copies of your federal tax return information--tax return transcripts and tax account transcripts. The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts, which are available for the current year as well as the past three years.

A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes you, your representative or the IRS made after the return was filed. In many cases, a return transcript will meet the requirements of lending institutions, such as those offering mortgages and student loans.

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.

The easiest way to get a transcript is to go to the IRS page Order a Transcript and follow the prompts. To request either transcript by phone, call 800-829-1040 and follow the prompts in the recorded message.

To request a tax return transcript through the mail, individual taxpayers should complete IRS Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Form 4506T-EZ is only for individuals who filed a Form 1040 series return. Businesses, partnerships and individuals who need transcript information from other forms or need a tax account transcript must use the Form 4506T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

You should receive your tax return transcript within 10 working days from the time the IRS receives your request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript.

If you still need an actual copy of a previously processed tax return, it will cost $50 per tax year and take much longer. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Form, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Allow 75 days for actual copies of your return. Copies are generally available for the current year as well as the past six years.

You can get additional information at the IRS Web site--go to or For the IRS forms and publications order line call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


Copyright 2010-2013 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject.--ISSN 1089-1536

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--Last Update 10/23/13