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The Best Way to Get Copies of Past Tax Returns

Jul 19, 2023 - By the dedicated team of editors and writers at Newsletter Station.

Tax returns are essential documents that provide a detailed overview of your income, deductions, and tax liabilities for a specific year. Keeping copies of past tax returns is critical for various reasons, such as filing an amended return, applying for loans, resolving tax-related issues, or simply maintaining personal records.

This blog will explore the best ways to obtain copies of past tax returns efficiently and securely.
  1. IRS Transcript Request:
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a convenient and accessible option to obtain tax return transcripts. A tax return transcript includes most line items from your original tax return and is often sufficient for financial and legal purposes. To request a transcript, visit the official IRS website ( and use the "Get Transcript" tool. You can receive the transcript online, by mail, or via fax.
  2. IRS Form 4506 and 4506-T:
    If you require an exact copy of a specific tax return, you can submit IRS Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return). This form allows you to order a photocopy of the entire tax return, including all attachments. It's important to note that a fee is associated with this service, currently at $43 per tax return. Alternatively, you can use IRS Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return) to request a transcript that includes most line items from the original tax return.
  3. Online Tax Software:
    If you used tax preparation software, such as TurboTax or H&R Block, to file your tax returns in the past, these platforms usually provide access to your previous returns. Log in to your account on the respective software's website and navigate to the section where past returns are stored. You can download and print the required copies of your tax returns easily.
  4. Tax Professional or Accountant:
    If you enlisted the help of a tax professional or accountant to file your tax returns, they should have copies of your past returns. Reach out to them and request copies of the specific returns you need. Maintaining communication records with tax professionals for future reference and easy retrieval is advisable.
  5. Electronic Filing PIN (e-file PIN):
    If you previously filed your tax returns electronically, you can retrieve your Electronic Filing PIN from the IRS website. The e-file PIN is a signature and can access your previously filed returns. You can retrieve and print copies of your past tax returns by entering your PIN and other required information.
  6. Contact the IRS:
    In certain cases, if none of the above options are viable, you can contact the IRS directly for assistance. Call the IRS at their toll-free number, explain your situation, and request copies of your past tax returns. Providing accurate personal information and relevant details is important to expedite the process.
Keeping copies of past tax returns is crucial for various financial and legal purposes. The best way to obtain copies depends on your specific needs. Whether you use the IRS online tools, contact tax professionals, or utilize tax software, ensure that you securely store these documents for future reference.

Remember, it's always a good practice to maintain organized records of your tax returns to streamline your financial activities and address any potential issues effectively.
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