TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / General Tax Tips / Video: How to Recover Past Tax Returns

Video: How to Recover Past Tax Returns

Updated for Tax Year 2014


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.


Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

Start for Free

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.

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax Online pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Mobile: Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Come back here before you file to confirm that the price has not changed, especially if it's been a while since you downloaded this app.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app features and content. TurboTax mobile app devices supported include Android 4.1 and above, iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above, and iPad 2.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support (phone or chat) vary by time of year. Phone support not included with Free Edition.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Click here for full terms and conditions. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • Get up to 10% on top of your federal refund: Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online (except Federal Free Edition) or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards cannot be canceled, transferred for value or redeemed for cash.

    Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ('GCs') cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2013 TurboTax products.
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars: Average based on customer ratings on TurboTax.com for TurboTax Online and CD/download products tax year 2014, as of January 2015.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • TurboTax CD/Download priority phone support: Priority phone support for TurboTax CD/Download Premier and Home & Business is accessible exclusively via the TurboTax.com Help Center.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.
  • Simplified State Experience: New, simplified state tax preparation available for most filers.
  • Eligibility for $25 cash back for returning Deluxe customers: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59PM PDT April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
  • $0 Upgrade Offer: Valid for customers who filed their 2013 taxes with TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), completed prior year data transfer this year, and encounter an upgrade to either 2014 TurboTax Premier or 2014 TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download). Valid February 6, 2015 through April 20, 2015. TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. This offer may not be combined with our $25 cash back offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.