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How to Get a Tax Return Transcript or Copy

It is easy to get a transcript or copy of an old tax return. If you efiled your return on, you can access a full copy anytime for FREE. Find out how to obtain a copy of your return from

Alternatively, you can get a FREE tax return transcript or full copy of a tax return from the IRS. 

How Do I View Online or Order a FREE Tax Return Transcript?

There are 3 easy ways to view online or order a tax return transcript from the IRS:

  1. Get Transcript Online. You can use this option if you wish to immediately view your AGI to efile your return. You can also request a transcript by mail from here.
  2. Call 1-800-908-9946 to request a transcript via phone, OR
  3. Fill out Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return or Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript and mail it to the address listed on the form.

Will I Need to Register Online with the IRS To Obtain a Free Online Transcript?

Yes, you will need to create an account on the IRS website in order to use the IRS online tool and obtain a tax return transcript. When you register, the IRS will ask you to provide the following information: 

  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Birth date
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Tax filing status
  • Current mailing address
  • U.S. mobile phone number associated with your name (so the IRS can send you a text message about your IRS account and protect your information)

The IRS will also ask you to verify your identity for extra security purposes. You can provide the IRS with one of the following financial accounts: 

  • Credit Card
  • Mortgage or Home Equity Loan
  • Home Equity Line of Credit
  • Auto Loan

Be aware that the IRS will not charge you any money nor will you be sharing any account balances or other financial information with the IRS. 

What is a Tax Return Transcript?

A transcript is a computer-generated printout which summarizes your old tax return and includes most of the line items from the return, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It will usually show all of the information you might need from a full copy of your tax return.

Why Would I Need a Copy of My Tax Return Transcript?

You may be asked for a transcript from your college or university in order to apply for financial aid, or to obtain a mortgage, or to obtain your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) which is needed to efile your return.

Will a Tax Return Transcript Show Any Changes or Amendments Made to My Return?

A transcript does not show any changes or amendments you or the IRS may have made after your return was accepted by the IRS.

What is the Cost of an IRS Tax Return Transcript?

It's free to obtain a transcript from the IRS online. 

When Can I Get My Tax Return Transcript?

If you efiled your tax return, the IRS will post the transcript on their website within 2 to 4 weeks. However, the IRS will post the transcript in about 6 weeks if you mail your return. If you owe taxes and you did not pay all the tax you owe, the IRS may not post your transcript until mid-May or a week after you pay the entire taxes owed.

When Can I Request a Transcript If I Made Estimated Tax Payments or Applied an Overpayment?

If you submitted estimated tax payments and/or applied an overpayment from a prior year tax return to your current year tax return, you can request your transcript a few weeks after the beginning of the year prior to filing your current year return in order to confirm the payments. 

How Long Is a Transcript of a Tax Return Available? 

Tax transcripts are generally available for 3 years from the date you filed your original tax return. 

Can I Ask the IRS to Send My Transcript to a Third Party?

You can have transcripts mailed to a third party if you specify this on Form 4506-T. Transcripts cannot be sent to a third party if your request is made by phone or online. Transcripts requested online can only be mailed to the address used on your last tax return.

When Will I Receive My Transcript After I Send My Transcript Request?

You will generally receive your tax return transcript(s) in the mail 5-10 days after the IRS receives your request.

What Is a Tax Return Copy?

Unlike a tax return transcript, tax return copy shows all the information from your filed and accepted tax return.

How Do I Get a Copy of My Tax Return If I Used

Here's how you can obtain a free copy of your return: 

  1. Sign into your account
  2. Click "My Account" on the upper right side of your account screen. 
  3. Click the appropriate Tax Year link under the "Your Return" heading. Your completed return will be listed as a PDF file, ready for you to download and print.

Important: You'll only be able to obtain copies of tax returns for the last three Tax Years (including the current filing Year). 

I Did Not Use, So How Do I Get a Copy of My Tax Return?

If you did NOT prepare your tax return on (or even if you did), you may request a transcript or full copy of a prior year tax return from the IRS.

Why Would I Need a Copy of My Tax Return?

You may need a copy of your tax return in the event you prepare for a tax audit.

How Do I Order a Full Copy of an IRS Tax Return?

You will need to complete and mail Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to the IRS. Include a $50.00 check made payable to "U.S. Treasury" with Form 4506 (the fee may be waived if you reside in an official disaster area as declared by the President). 

When Will I Receive My Tax Return Copy Once I Send My Request?

It may take the IRS about 60 days to process your request and mail your tax return copy or copies.

How Long Is a Tax Return Copy Available? 

Generally, the IRS makes tax return copies available for 7 years from the original date they are filed before they are destroyed by law.