You’re applying for a mortgage or college financial aid. The bank or school wants a copy of your tax returns. You’ve probably heard that taxpayers should keep copies of their tax returns for at least three years. Like the good taxpayer you are, you had yours, until that storm 3 months ago knocked a tree through your basement window then soaked all of your paper records in the box in the corner.
We often get calls from clients requesting a copy of their tax return for the current filing year or earlier years. Did you know that you can request this information from the IRS? True, for a copy of the actual return, you won’t be able to get it today, or even tomorrow. IRS Tax Tip 2017-11 says it can take from 5-10 days to receive a return ordered online (at IRS.gov) or 30-70 days for those ordered by mail. The IRS also charges a fee starting at $50 per return (unless you live if a federally declared disaster area).
But, maybe you don’t need a hard copy of the actual return. You may only need a Tax Transcript from the IRS. A transcript summarizes return information and includes Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). They are available for the most current tax year (after the IRS has processed the return) and for the past three years. Best of all, if you get them from the IRS, they’re FREE.
For more information, see the IRS links below from IRS Tax Tip 2017-11:
- For people applying for college financial aid, see IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications on IRS.gov for the latest options.
- For additional descriptions of the 2 types of tax transcripts and how to get them, go to https://go.usa.gov/xRWW5 .
- To get a copy of an actual return for the current or past six years, go to https://go.usa.gov/xRWW5 .
Remember, avoid scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using social media or text message. The first IRS contact generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.