Tax Transcripts and Copies of Tax Returns

Wednesday: 2017/07/26

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 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:

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 to find out.

Disclaimer: It is safer to type a web address into your internet browser (because you can see where you’re going) than to click a link. The above links were copied from IRS Tax Tip 2017-11. Tax Professionals Inc provides these as an option for site visitors but is not responsible for any errors in those links. You are responsible for the safety of your information. When in doubt, go directly to and search for your topic of interest.