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Best Way to get a Copy of Last Year’s Tax Return

Every day in locations across the United States there are a number of individuals needing tax return information and forms filed during a prior calendar year. Some people need tax filing data for legal, financial and employment purposes. Other individuals are trying to piece their lives back together after destructive weather activities. There are several ways that individuals can get a copy of last year?s, or several prior years?, tax return forms depending on how the forms were originally completed and filed. Several of the best options for how to get a prior year?s tax information are listed below:

Professional Tax Preparers
If someone used an income tax preparer service such as H&R Block, or a personal CPA or Tax Attorney, copies of the filed tax forms can be obtained with one telephone call. The preparer will have the forms in the client?s file and will either mail a hard copy to a street address or electronically send the forms to the client?s email address. This service should be free from the tax preparer or for a small fee for copying the files and for postage.

Self Filed with Online Programs
If someone used an electronic program such as Turbo Tax or e-file, the forms will be available in a file folder. If someone cannot remember their log-in information, the program host will assist the individual with retrieval of the information. The tax filer will be able to download the forms onto a personal computer where the forms can then be printed out. The retrieval of tax forms from an electronic service should be free of charge.

Self Filed with Paper Forms
If someone filed using paper forms and did not make a copy for himself, that tax filer will need to request the desired tax return forms from the IRS and from the appropriate State Comptroller.

Using IRS for Tax Return Forms
The IRS offers two methods to retrieve a prior year?s tax information: (1) Use of the IRS Form 4506-T will get someone a free transcript of information originally submitted on the tax forms. A transcript will fulfill legal, financial and employment requirements, or (2) Use of the IRS Form 4506 will get someone a copy of all the tax returns with supporting schedules and income information such as W-2s and 1099s for a fee of $57. Forms are available on the IRS website or by calling the IRS toll-free number 1-800-908-9946.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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