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Find Copies of Past Tax Returns

Do you need a copy of your past tax return? If so, you should first decide if you need an exact copy of your return or just a simple transcript. Many taxpayers are unaware that there are differences between exact copies and transcripts. Along with this, the process of getting an exact copy of a past tax return is much different than requesting a transcript.

To obtain an exact copy of your past tax return, follow these 3 basic steps:

1. To receive an exact copy of a past tax return, you must use IRS Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return). This is an easy, 1-page form that should only take you a few minutes to complete. Most of what you are asked to provide is basic identifying information.

2. You must send a check or money order with Form 4506, made payable to the ‘United States Treasury.’ It costs $57 for each past tax return copy that is requested. (If the IRS cannot find your tax return, they will refund that fee.)

3. Mail Form 4506, along with payment for each tax return copy, to the address provided. The address you must use is based on your state ? mailing addresses can be found on Page 2 (General Instructions) of Form 4506.

Note that if your filing status is ‘married filing jointly,’ either spouse can request an exact copy of a past tax return. In that situation, only one signature will be needed.

In some cases, it may make more sense to get a transcript of a past tax return rather than an exact copy. If you need access to your personal tax information, obtaining a copy of a past tax return costs $57 per return. Requesting a transcript, however, is simpler and free of charge.

There are two different types of tax transcripts:

Tax Return Transcript
This document will show most of the original information from your past tax return, but it is not an exact copy. Keep in mind that a Tax Return Transcript will not show any changes that may have been made after submitting the original tax return ? for example, if you filed Form 1040X (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). This type of transcript is typically used by people who are applying for a loan, such as a school loan or a car loan.

Tax Account Transcript
This type of document shows basic information, such as your filing status and adjusted gross income (AGI) from a past tax return. Similar to above, this transcript is not an exact copy. However, a Tax Account Transcript will include any adjustments that were made after the original return was filed.

For more information about past tax returns, please visit the following websites:

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