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Requesting Previous Tax Year Information

Updated on January 25, 2011

For those needing prior tax year information from previously filed returns must be aware of these nine factors before applying to the IRS for the information:

IRS Tax Returns
IRS Tax Returns

1. Cost-free duplicates of your federal tax returns are available in three forms, by internet, phone, or mail.

2. To obtain information for up to the last three years, or the current year, in transcript form, the IRS does not charge any fee.

3. Showing information as it was originally filed, including added forms or schedules, a tax return transcript displays most of the items from your tax return. However, the transcript does not contain any amendments post filing.

4. To view changes made after filing, a tax account transcript is needed. It reflects differences applied either by the filer or the IRS. Providing basic data, such as marital status and taxable income, a transcript may be needed.

5. Obtaining the transcript online, first go to www.IRS.gov. Next, click on the new online tool titled Order a Transcript. Otherwise, to get your form by phone, dial 800-908-9946. A series of prompts will guide you through the process.

6. For those going through the mail and requiring a 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ return transcript, the 4506T-EZ form must be completed. For anyone other than an individual, such as a business or partnership, must complete Form 4506T.

7. If requesting the form either online or by phone, forms should arrive between 5 to 10 days from the moment the request is registered. Be aware that if using the mail to request a 4506T form or a 4506T-EZ form, 30 calendar days should be allotted for delivery.

8. However, if a transcript is not enough and an actual copy is needed, the price is $57 per tax year ordered. Fill out Form 4506T, and deliver it to the address indicated on the form for your area. Generally, copies for the past 6 years are available and can take up to 60 days to be delivered.

9. In order to finalize exactly what forms are required, go to www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). The forms listed above, 4506, 4506T, and 4506T-EZ are all available either online or by phone.

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