Video: How to Recover Past Tax Returns

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

If you need to recover a tax return from previous years, you have a few options. Watch this video to find how about recovering past years' tax returns.


Video transcript:

Hello, I'm Jill from TurboTax with some interesting information on how you can obtain copies of your past tax returns.

Have you ever needed a tax return from a prior year, but either forgot where you put your copy or just didn't have one to begin with? If so, you aren't alone.

Luckily, the Internal Revenue Service can provide you with copies of your original tax returns. As long as you filed the original tax return on Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ, you can request a copy by filing Form 4506 with the IRS. It can take up to 60 days for the IRS to process your request, but when you do receive the tax return, you will have a copy of the original tax form as well as all schedules and forms that you attached to it.

By law, the IRS must destroy a majority of the tax returns it receives after seven years. So, if you need a tax return that you filed more than seven years ago, the IRS will try to locate it, but there are no guarantees. In addition, the IRS charges a fee for each tax return you request, and you must enclose payment when mailing the 4506 form. And if you want the returns sent directly to a third party, such as a bank that's evaluating your application for a mortgage loan, you must provide the bank's contact information on the form.

If you want to avoid paying fees for your past tax returns, the IRS offers free tax return and tax account transcripts. However, transcripts are only available for the tax returns you file in the current and three prior years. The tax return transcript will report most of the information from your original tax return, but it doesn't report any changes that occur after the original filing, such as IRS adjustments. The tax account transcript, however, will reflect these changes, so ordering both types of transcripts should provide you with all the information you need.

You can request a tax return transcript by completing Form 4506T-EZ. But if you're also ordering a tax account transcript, you must use Form 4506-T instead. If you filed your prior-year taxes with TurboTax, you won't pay anything at all for a copy of your tax return. If you used our CD or download product, the file will be stored on the computer you used to file your taxes. If you used our online product, just log on to your account to get a copy of prior-year returns.

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