What Is Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return?

Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return is filed by taxpayers to request copies of previously filed tax returns and tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Copies of transcripts may be needed to complete a current year tax return, to amend a prior year tax return, to file a claim for refund or abatement, to apply for government benefits, to apply for federal student aid, to verify income, or to defend an IRS audit.

Who Can File Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return?

Taxpayers requesting copies of previously filed tax returns can file Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return. You can also request a copy be sent to a third-party. Third parties might include a mortgage lender verifying your income with the IRS. In this case, you sign and file Form 4506, and the IRS sends the tax return copy to your lender.

The IRS limits the Mortgage Interest Credit to a maximum of $2,000.

How to File Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return

You file Form 4506 when you need an exact copy of a previously filed tax return. You can request a range of tax returns including Form 1040 series individual tax returns, Form 1120 series corporate tax returns, Form 1065 partnership tax returns, Form 941 gift tax returns, and Form 1041 estate or trust tax returns. Form 4506 must be completed and mailed to the IRS at the mailing address shown on Form 4506.

You must include a check or money order made payable to the "United States Treasury” to cover the $50 fee charged for each tax period requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past six years. The IRS takes about 60 calendar days to process requests and deliver copies.

Instructions to request a tax return copy or transcript are found online at www.irs.gov. You can request an exact copy of your previously filed tax return by downloading, completing, and mailing Form 4506. You can request a transcript of it by downloading, completing and mailing Form 4506-T-EZ or 4506-T.

If you need your tax information right away, you can get a transcript of it free of charge by using the IRS’ automated self-help service tools or by calling the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. Transcripts are accepted as a substitute for an exact copy of a return by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, by student loan and mortgage lending agencies, and by other third parties seeking to verify taxpayer income. In fact, the tax return transcript was created specifically to satisfy mortgage lender demands for the tax return information of their borrowers.

When paper-filing any of the Form 4506 series, copies and transcripts of jointly filed tax returns may be requested by either spouse, and only one signature is required. When using Get Transcript Online, either the primary or secondary spouse on a joint return can make the request. When using Get Transcript by Mail or Phone, only the primary taxpayer on the return can make the request.

Form 4506-T: Request for Transcript of Return

You file Form 4506-T when need a transcript of your tax return or tax account information; and, If you register online with the IRS you can get it right away and free of charge.  

Tax Return Transcript

A tax return transcript is a computer print-out of your income tax return information. It shows filing dates, filing status, dependents, adjusted gross income, and tax liability. In fact, it shows most line items contained on your return as it was originally filed. It doesn't show changes made after the return was processed. Tax return transcripts are available for the current and past three tax years and only for the following returns: Form 1040 series (Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040-EZ, or 1040X), Form 1120 series (Forms 1120, 1120-A, 1120-H, 1120-L, or 1120S) or Form 1065. Most requests are processed within 10 business days.

An individual tax return transcript of your previously filed and processed 1040 series tax return can also be requested using the simplified Form 4506-T-EZ: Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript.

Download Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return

Here is a link for a downloadable copy of Form 4506: Request for Copy of Tax Return.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 4506 is filed by taxpayers to request copies or transcripts of previously filed tax returns and tax information.
  • You can request a range of different types of previously filed tax returns.
  • Request an exact copy of your previously filed tax return by downloading, completing and mailing Form 4506.