How can I get a copy of my tax return?

effigy : Asian-American college student, sitting on campus lawn, reviewing scholar loanword paperwork and wondering how to get a copy of a tax reelect for his application. When you need proof of your income and other tax-related information, you can get either a tax transcript or a transcript of a past tax return. A tax transcript is absolve. Copies of past tax returns, on the other handwriting, may cost you. here ’ s how to get them. column note : Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn ’ metric ton affect our editors ’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don ’ thyroxine review, approve or endorse our editorial subject. It ’ south accurate to the best of our cognition when posted .Advertiser Disclosure

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This article was fact-checked by our editors and Rachel Weatherly, tax product specialist with Credit Karma Tax® .

Keeping tabs on your old tax returns may not be your top concern in life — until a situation comes up when you need them.

For example, if you apply for a mortgage or scholar loanword, you typically have to disclose your income — but lenders won ’ t always fair take your son for how much you earn. That ’ s where your official tax records come in. They can serve as proof of your income when applying not lone for loans but for things like rental housing, government benefits or early kinds of fiscal aid .
If you don ’ t have a copy of your tax return on hand when you need it, no problem ! You can use a few different methods to get your past tax information .
The beginning big question : Do you need a wax copy of your tax tax return, or can you get by with a transcript ?
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Tax transcripts vs. tax returns

The IRS supplies taxpayers with past tax information in two different formats : tax transcripts or copies of past tax returns .

What is a tax transcript?

A tax transcript is basically a printout compendious of the major data on your tax return, including a particularly important one : adjusted megascopic income, or AGI .
The IRS doesn ’ t charge for tax transcripts, and you can get one on-line immediately ( or within five to 10 business days, if it ’ sulfur mailed ). You ’ ll necessitate to register on-line with the IRS before you can access the Get Transcript on-line tool .
In most cases, when you need tax render info you can use a tax transcript. Ask whoever needs your tax information whether a tax transcript will be all right or if a copy of the reappearance is required.

Copies of tax returns

A copy of your tax return is precisely that — a duplicate of the return you mailed or e-filed with the IRS. For a tip, the IRS can provide up to six years back, plus the current class ’ s tax render, if you ’ ve already filed yours. You ’ ll need to fill out and mail form 4506 to the IRS to request a copy of a tax render .
You might need a copy of your old tax reelect, preferably than a tax transcript, if more-detailed information from prior tax returns ( like the specific W-2s you filed ) is required — or if older tax information is needed .
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How to get a copy of your tax transcript

There are three ways to get a copy of your tax transcript .
The easiest direction is to use the IRS ’ s on-line transcript portal site, Get Transcript. To use this serve to access your transcripts online, you ’ ll need to provide your Social Security number, filing condition from your most holocene return, date of give birth and the mail address from your most recent tax return. You ’ ll besides need a few other things : an e-mail account, a mobile earphone with your name on the account, and an bill number from an eligible account to verify your identity .
You can besides fill out and chain mail in a copy of Form 4506-T or use the Get Transcript by Mail option through the Get Transcript portal vein. But if you make your request that way, you should be prepared to wait 30 days to receive your transcript. finally, if you ’ re a call person, you can besides get a copy of your transcript by calling the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. earphone orders typically take five to 10 clientele days .
One matter to note : The IRS is now issuing transcripts that block out portions of your Social Security number, telephone number, last list and address. That ’ south why you ’ ll have to provide an history number ( such as a loanword number ) to verify your identity so they can use it to match up with your file. By limiting the measure of personal information on the transcript, the IRS hopes to help reduce the risk of identity larceny .

What tax years can I get a transcript for?

The IRS offers tax return transcripts for the current tax file year, plus the most late three tax years .

How to get a copy of your tax return

If you do need a copy of your tax return, you have a few options .

  • You can ask your tax preparer (if you used one) to send it to you.
  • If you used an online tax preparation and filing service to e-file your return, you may also be able to access a copy of your tax return directly through the program for the years you filed through the software. For example, if you e-filed with Credit Karma Tax® in prior years, you can get your prior-year returns for free after accessing this year’s free tax product. Other online filing services may also allow you to access past returns you filed with them. But be aware they may limit the number of years you can access or charge a fee to allow you to access and download past years’ returns.
  • Finally, you can always request a copy directly from the IRS. You can’t request a past year’s return over the phone or online, so you’ll need to fill out Form 4506 and mail it in. It’ll also cost you $50 per copy, per tax year for which you’re requesting a return copy, and it could take 75 days for the IRS to process your request.

Bottom line

bad life changes like buying a house, going to college or moving into new digs often require proof of income .
If you ’ ve forgotten to store a replicate of your tax return, or if you ’ ve lost it, first find out if you can use a tax transcript — this can be easier to get, and it ’ s exempt. If that won ’ thyroxine do, there are ways to get a imitate of your old tax return. But doing thus may take some clock and money .
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Relevant sources: Welcome to Get Tax Transcript | Transcript Types and Ways to Order Them | About Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return | Form 4506-T | Form 4506 | Definition of Adjusted Gross Income
Rachel Weatherly is a tax intersection specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. She studied account and finance at Western Carolina University and has besides worked as a tax analyst. You can find her on LinkedIn .
About the author: Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, Washington. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee. She writes for websites such a… Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, Washington. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife research worker, and a player in the National Spelling Bee. She writes for websites such a… Read more.

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