Obtaining a copy or a transcript of a tax return

You may need copies of your filed tax returns for many reasons, such as:

  • to help you prepare future tax returns,
  • to provide information necessary to amend a prior year tax return,
  • to prove income when applying for a loan, or
  • to prove income when applying for student aid.

If you can’t find your copies, the IRS can give you a transcript of the information you need, or a copy of your tax return. If you do not know what to request, here is information to help you distinguish the different information available to you from the IRS:

  • Tax return transcripts are free and you can get them for the current year and the past three years. In most cases, a transcript includes the tax information you need.  A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return that you filed. It also includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules that you filed. It does NOT reflect any changes you or the IRS made after you filed your original tax return.
  • A tax account transcript includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income. It does include any changes that you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it.
  • A tax return copy shows the actual tax return, as filed, without any changes.

The IRS provides numerous ways to obtain these transcripts and tax returns. Here are 10 facts about ways to obtain a copy or a transcript of a tax return from the IRS:

  1. You can get your free transcripts immediately online.
  2. You can also get them by phone, by mail or by fax within five to 10 days from the time IRS receives your request.
  3. To view and print your transcripts online, go to and use the Get Transcript tool.
  4. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
  5. You can also request your transcript using your smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app.
  6. To request an individual tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript.  Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
  7. If you need a copy of your filed and processed tax return, it will cost $50 for each tax year. You should complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to make the request. Mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Copies are generally available for the current year and past six years. You should allow 75 days for delivery.
  8. If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you can get a free copy of your tax return. Visit for more disaster relief information.
  9. Tax forms are available 24/7 on
  10. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get them by mail.

Additional IRS Resources:


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