1997 Tax Help Archives  

Copy of Your Tax Return - How to Get One

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

Form 4506 can be used to request copies of previously filed and processed tax returns or Forms W-2 only. The IRS cannot provide copies of information returns such as Forms 1099.

Individual tax account information may be useful to students applying for financial aid, or to mortgage applicants. This includes the type of return filed, filing status, tax shown on the return, adjusted gross income, taxable income, self-employment tax, number of exemptions, amount of refund, and amount of earned income credit. To obtain tax account information, you should contact your local IRS office. Tax account information is provided at no charge to you.

If you need to complete Form 4506, check the appropriate box for the type of information you need. For copies of tax returns, there is a charge of $23.00 for each tax period requested. Tax return transcripts and copies of Forms W-2 only will be provided at no charge.

A tax return transcript shows most line items from the original return, including accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes you or the IRS made to the original return. Tax return transcripts of 1040, 1040A, or 1040-EZ are available for tax years after 1991.

You may request a tax return transcript by telephone, by personally visiting your local IRS office, or by using Form 4506.

Once you complete the Form 4506, mail it to the service center where you originally filed the return. The same Form 4506 can be used to request returns for up to four tax periods from the same service center. However, you must use a separate Form 4506 for each service center from which you are requesting information.

After the request is filed, you should allow up to 60 days to receive copies of returns, or 10 work days for a tax return transcript.

If you need the prior year's tax return for information to file this year's return, and you find that April 15th is near and you have not yet received the copy, you have two options:

  1. Get a 4-month extension of time to file your return by sending Form 4868 by April 15th to the service center where you will file this year's return; or
  2. File your return by April 15th and change it later on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Further information on extensions is contained in Topic 304 and additional information on amending your return is contained in Topic 308.

Form 4506 can also be ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676.

Tax Topics & FAQs | Tax Help Archives | Home