How to Obtain a Copy of a Tax Return

COVID-19 Update:

The IRS is not processing transcript requests by mail until further notice. 

To obtain a transcript online, visit the IRS Get Transcipt page

You can request a transcript or a copy of your tax return from the IRS by completing one of the following forms:

  • IRS Form 4506T-EZ Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript
    • free of charge from the IRS

  • IRS Form 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return
    • free of charge from the IRS

  • IRS Form 4506 Request for Copy of Tax Return
    • IRS charges a fee

Read IRS Topic 156 Copy of Your Tax Return - How to Get One for more information.

To file a prior-year return, see Previous Year's TaxAct Products for a list of available Online and Desktop programs. If you used TaxAct in a prior year and need to access your account, see Accessing Prior Year Returns.

The difference between a transcript and a copy of your tax return:

A transcript is a printout of your tax return form only. A copy of your return is your return plus all attachments. Most of the time you can meet a need for tax return information with a transcript. For example, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or lending agencies for student loans and mortgages may accept a transcript of a return rather than a copy of a return.

The difference between a tax return transcript and a tax account transcript:

A tax return transcript will show most line items contained on the return as it was originally filed. If you need a statement of your tax account that shows changes that you or the IRS made after the original return was filed, request a tax account transcript.

Both transcripts are generally available for the current and past three years for free. You should receive the transcript within 10 to 30 business days from the time the IRS gets your request.

  • Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript was created by the IRS for those who need to order a transcript of a Form 1040 series return. It's intended to help taxpayers trying to obtain, modify, or refinance a home mortgage. Transcripts can be mailed to a third party, such as a mortgage institution, if specified on the form. Sign and date the form to give your consent for the disclosure.
  • Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return is intended for businesses, partnerships, or individuals who need transcript information from forms such as Form W-2 or Form 1099. These transcripts may also be mailed to a third party with your consent.
  • Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return is for use by those who need an exact copy of a previously filed and processed tax return and all attachments (including Form W-2). There is a $50 fee for each tax period requested payable to the United States Treasury. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past six years. Copies of jointly filed tax returns may be requested by either spouse and only one signature is required. It can take up to 60 days to receive your copies.

Special Circumstances

If you've been impacted by a federally declared disaster, the IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of tax returns so you can apply for benefits or file amended returns claiming disaster-related losses.

For more information, refer to Topic 107 or call the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline at 1-866-562-5227.