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Getting a Copy of Your Tax Return from the IRS

Photocopy of Paper Return - $57

If you filed a paper return, you can request a photocopy from the IRS by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. There's a fee of $57 for each year requested. Copies are generally available for the current and past six
  years. For joint returns, either taxpayer can make the request (only one signature is required). Allow 60 days for processing. This service is not available if you filed your return electronically.


Tax Return Transcript, Tax Account Transcript, and Record of Account - Free

Most needs for tax return information can be met with a computer printout of your return information, which the IRS calls a transcript. A tax return transcript will show most of the figures contained on your return as originally filed, plus information such as filing status and dependents. (It will not, however, include the detailed information shown on "informational" forms such as W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s.)

A tax return transcript will not show any changes you or the IRS made after your original return was filed. For that, you'll need a tax account transcript. A tax account transcript will also show any penalties and interest the IRS has assessed, credits the IRS has applied, and payments you made after filing.

A third option is a record of account, which is essentially a combination of the two transcripts described above.

Tax return transcripts and records of accounts are generally available for the current and past three years. Tax account transcripts may be available for all prior years.
  If you just need to know what information you reported on a prior year return, and you're certain you did not amend it and the IRS never changed it, order a tax return transcript. (It's quickest.) In all other cases, order both types of transcript or a record of account. As with photocopies, either spouse can make the request for a joint return.

You can request either type of transcript or a record of account by mail or by phone. By mail, submit Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. Instructions and mailing addresses are on the form. By phone,call 800.829.1040 during regular business hours and follow the recorded prompts.

Processing time can range from 10-30 business days from the time the IRS receives your request.

If you'd like, you can have the transcript sent directly to a third party, such as Hamilton Tax Services, by completing block 5 of the form.