In theory, you are supposed to keep copies of your tax returns and all supporting documents for at least three years. If you lost your tax returns, or you couldn’t keep them for any other reason, don’t worry. These are your options if you need tax returns from previous years.
Ask Your Tax Preparer or Software Provider
If you work with a software provider or a tax preparer, the first step is asking them. They may be able to provide you with copies of past tax returns.
Request a Transcript
If you don’t work with a software provider or tax preparer, or if they don’t have copies of your returns, you can request a tax transcript from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This document is free but conceals some personal information to protect the identity of taxpayers. Other than that, all financial entries are fully visible. There are three ways to request a transcript:
- Online: Use the tool Get Transcript to view, print, or download all types of transcripts. If you prefer so, you can also decide to get your transcript by traditional mail (in that case, consider that it may take five to 10 days for it to arrive).
- By phone: Call the IRS at 800-908-9946.
- By mail: Complete and send forms 4506-T (to request a transcript of your tax return) or 4506-T-EZ (to request other tax records such as W-2 information or 1099 information, among others).
Request a Copy of Your Tax Return
To get a copy of your tax return, complete Form 4506 and mail it to the IRS that appears on the form. Keep in mind that a fee of $50 for each copy applies and that it may take the IRS up to 75 days to process your request. Copies are available for the current tax year and up to six years prior.
More Tax Tips
Learning more about taxes is well worth the effort: It can save you time, money, and frustration! Check out these previous posts to learn more about deductions, deadlines, tax credits, and everything in between:
- These are some expenses educators can deduct from their taxes
- 3 Tools you need after filing your taxes
- Keep in mind these ideas when you file your taxes
- We debunk 4 common myths about tax returns
- Don’t forget this essential step if you are starting a new business
Get Advice From the Experts at JT Tax Services
Our experts at JT Tax Services stand ready to meet all your tax needs. We help you file your taxes with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are limiting your liability while staying compliant with federal and state tax regulations.