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

Tax forms from the 4506 series are filed by taxpayers to request copies or transcripts 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. 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.

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

Key Takeaways:

  • 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.

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 at www.irs.gov 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.

Tax Account Transcript

A tax account transcript is a statement of the financial status of your tax account. It shows your tax liability, payments, notices, penalties, or audit results. It also shows changes made after your original return was filed. Account transcripts are available for most returns for the current tax year and up to 3 prior years using Get Transcript by Mail or phone and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. Tax account transcripts are useful to check on things like estimated tax payments, penalties assessed, or IRS collection or audit activity.

Record of Account Transcript

A Record of Account Transcript combines the tax return and tax account transcript above into one complete transcript. These transcripts are available for returns processed during the current and prior three tax years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.

Wage and Income transcript

Form 4506-T refers to wage and income transcripts as "Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcripts." These transcripts show income from all information statements filed under your social security number. Information statements are Form W-2, Form 1099, 1098 or 5498 series and other forms that your employer, your bank or other third-parties file with the IRS to report your income.

The IRS matches income reported on information statements against the income you report on your tax return to verify that you have fully reported all of your income. Wage and income transcripts allow you to check the accuracy of information statement income reported by third-party filers and attributed by the IRS to your tax account. While the IRS can generally provide wage and income transcript information for up to 10 years, current tax year information may not be complete until July and may not be available until the following year.

Be advised that if you need a copy of Form W-2 or Form 1099, you should first contact the payer and if you need a copy of the Form W-2 or Form 1099 filed with your return, you must use Form 4506 and request a copy of your return, which includes all attachments.

Verification of Non-filing Letters

Verification of Non-filing Letters do not indicate whether there is or was a filing requirement. They only provide proof that no tax return was filed for a specified tax year. Verification of Non-filing Letters are available after June 15 for the current tax year. Letters for the current and three prior tax years can be obtained using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T and letters for older tax years must be requested on Form 4506-T.

Download Request for Copy of Tax Return Here