Requesting Actual Copies of Original Tax Returns
A US Taxpayer can request from the IRS "an exact copy of a previously filed and processed return and all attachments (including Form W-2)."
The procedure is that the taxpayer must complete Form 4506, a " Request for Copy of Tax Return" and mail it to the IRS address in the instructions along with a the applicable fee which is currently at $39 fee for each tax year requested. Generally, speaking these copies would be delivered to the taxpayers within 60 calender. How many years of past returns can a Taxpayer request?
The IRS generally maintains copies of tax returns and these are generally available for returns filed in the current and past 6 years, for a total of 7 years. Requesting a Tax Return Transcript
If the taxpayer does not need an exact copy of the return, a tax return transcript may be ordered. The tax return transcript shows most line items contained on the return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. If a taxpayer is requesting prior year tax returns due to some requirements made by a mortgage or loan institution, a tax return transcript will suffice to meet their requirements.
The transcript can be ordered by completing a Form 4506-T (PDF) or calling (800) 829-1040 and following the prompts in the recorded message. There is no charge for the transcript and you should receive it in 10 business days from the time we receive your request.
If you need a statement of your tax account which shows changes that you or the IRS made after the original return was filed, you must request a "Tax Account Transcript". What is shown on the Tax Return Transcripts?
These transcripts shows several items on the taxpayers tax returns. These are as follows:
1. Basic data including marital status,
2. Type of return filed,
3. Adjusted gross income,
4. Taxable income,
5. Tax payments and Tax Credits,
6. Any adjustments made on your account. How many years of past Tax Return Transcripts can a Taxpayer request?
The IRS will provide the copies of Tax return and account transcripts both for the current year tax return and past for the past 3 years, for a total of 4 years.
Forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov/forms/pubs
or ordered by calling (800) 829-3676.