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

There is a fee for getting a full copy of a tax return. In some cases, a free transcript–a shorter printout of the return–may serve a taxpayer’s need just as well.

Form 4506 is filed by taxpayers to request exact copies of previously filed tax returns and tax information.
You can request a range of different types of previously filed tax returns, going back six years.
It currently costs $43 to get a copy of your return.
The IRS takes about 75 calendar days to process requests and deliver copies.
If you don’t need an exact copy of your return, Forms 4506-T and 4506-T-EZ allow you to request free transcripts of a previously filed 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 to 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 directly to your lender.

You fill out and file Form 4506 when you need an exact copy of a previously filed tax return. You can request a range of tax returns including the Form 1040 series of individual tax returns, Form 1120 series corporate tax returns, Form 1065 partnership 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 the form.

You must include a check or money order made payable to the “United States Treasury” to cover the $43 fee charged for each tax period requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past six years.

All copies of Form 4506 are available on the IRS website.

The IRS takes about 75 calendar days to process requests and deliver copies.

Other forms in the 4506 series include Form 4506-T: Request for Transcript of Tax Return and Form 4506-T-EZ: Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. They allow you to request a transcript–a printout, without any attachments–of a previously filed tax return.

You can request a transcript of a previously filed tax return by downloading, completing, and mailing Form 4506-T.

You file Form 4506-T when you need a transcript of your tax return or tax account information, Form W-2 information, and 1099 information. Tax return transcripts are available for the current and past three tax years and only for the following returns: Form 1040 series (Forms 1040, 1040-A, 1040-EZ, or 1040-X), Form 1120 series (Forms 1120, 1120-A, 1120-H, 1120-L, or 1120-S), and Form 1065. If you register online with the IRS, you can get it right away and free of charge.

An individual tax return transcript of your previously filed and processed 1040 series tax return can also be requested free of charge using the simplified Form 4506-T-EZ.

A tax return transcript is a computer printout 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, though it’s still shorter than a full copy with all attachments. It doesn’t show changes made after the return was processed.

If you need your tax information right away, you can also get a transcript of it free of charge by using the IRS’s online tool “Get Transcript” 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 the satisfy mortgage lender’s demands for the tax return information of their borrowers.

As of 2019, the IRS has a new transcript format that protects against identity theft and fraud. Only the last four digits of your Social Security Number and telephone number are visible, for example. Taxpayers can still request an unmasked version, but it will only be mailed to their address of record.

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 phone, only the primary taxpayer on the return can make the request.

If you use the “Get Transcript” option on the IRS website, you can download your forms immediately. If you request a transcript by mail, it could take 5 to 10 calendar days for it to arrive at your address on file with the IRS. If you fill out Form 4506 to request an exact copy of your tax return, you can expect it to take up to 75 calendar days.

Transcripts are typically accepted as a substitute for an exact copy of a return by mortgage lending agencies. In fact, the tax return transcript was created specifically to the satisfy mortgage lender’s demands for the tax return information of their borrowers.

Mortgage lenders may require you to fill out a Form 4506-T as part of your mortgage application. It allows them to obtain a transcript of your tax return information directly from the IRS. They use it to verify the other income documentation you provided during the loan application process.


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