How to Obtain a Copy of a Tax Return

State Tax Return

To obtain a copy of your tax return from a state taxing agency, visit the Request a Copy of a State Return or Transcript page for links to the websites and/or forms for each state to request a copy of your return or transcript.

Federal Tax Return

If you need a transcript or a copy of your federal tax return from the IRS, complete one of the following forms:

  • Form 4506T-EZ Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript
  • Form 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return
  • Form 4506 Request for Copy of Tax Return (IRS charges a fee)

Transcript vs. copy of 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.

Tax return transcript vs. 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 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 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 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 help, call the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline at 1-866-562-5227).

Related Links

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the webpage or document at the time it is accessed.