TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / IRS Tax Return / How do I Request Prior Year Federal Tax Returns?

How do I Request Prior Year Federal Tax Returns?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

You can request prior tax returns, for a fee, from the IRS. If you file with TurboTax, those returns are free in TurboTax Deluxe, Premier and Home & Business. 


If you can’t find one of your old tax returns, there’s no reason to worry. The IRS can provide you with a copy of it if you prepare Form 4506. The IRS keeps copies of all returns you file for at least seven years. However, if the tax return you want is older than this, there’s a possibility it may not be available.

Step 1 - Obtain a copy of IRS Form 4506

Search the IRS website for Form 4506 and print a hard copy to fill out. The IRS will not process your tax return request without the form.

Step 2 - Provide complete and accurate information on Form 4506

The top portion of the form requires you to enter your personal details as it appears on the original tax return you are requesting. At a minimum, the name and Social Security number you provide must match the original return. If you filed your original return jointly, you must include your spouse’s full name and Social Security number as well.

If you are no longer married, it’s not necessary for your former spouse to sign Form 4506 or even provide consent. If you’ve moved since filing the return, you must also provide your current address. The IRS gives you the option of having the return sent directly to a third party if you provide their name, phone number and address.

Step 3 - Choose the tax years you want returns for

You can request more than one tax return on Form 4506; however, you must indicate the type of form you used to file each one, such as a Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. In the next section of Form 4506, you must provide the tax years you are requesting. For example, if you are requesting a tax return from 2007, the IRS asks you to enter “12/31/2013” rather than just “2013".

Step 4 - Mail Form 4506 and payment

Mail Form 4506 and your payment to the appropriate IRS office. The IRS charges a fee for each tax year you request a return for. As of 2015, the fee for each one is $50 and you can make payment by check or money order, payable to the U.S. Treasury.

Also include your Social Security number and the notation “Form 4506 request” on your check or money order. After signing the bottom of the form, check the instructions to determine the appropriate IRS address. Note that the IRS office you mail it to depends on your address at the time of filing the tax return, not your current address.

Accessing past year returns filed with TurboTax

If you prepared your prior-year tax returns using TurboTax Online Deluxe, Premier, or Home & Business you can obtain as many copies as you’d like for free for up to seven years.

If you used a TurboTax CD or download product, your tax return is stored on the computer you used to prepare your taxes. You just need to start your TurboTax software for that year, and we’ll locate the tax return for you.

If you used TurboTax Online Deluxe, Premier or Home & Business to prepare the tax return you’re seeking a copy of, just log into your account at TurboTax.com. On the Welcome Back screen, click the View your returns from prior years link, located below the Continue button.

Get every deduction you deserve

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

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

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.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Filing Deadline: IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 18, 2016 (except for residents of Massachusetts or Maine, where the IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 19, 2016).
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file 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. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • 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 $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except the TurboTax Home & Business/QuickBooks Self-Employed bundle offers.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone 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. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.