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Getting Tax Return Transcripts from the IRS

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    Just went through this process, so figured I'd share a good resource for getting prior year tax return transcripts. Depending on what you need, it's a fairly easy process. But some requests take considerably longer than others, so keep that in mind especially since April 15th is approaching.

    How to Get a Transcript or Copy of a Prior Year Tax Return

    This is the best resource I could find. It's the official IRS site's guide. Gives you the ability to make requests for either tax return requests OR tax account requests (if changes were made after you originally filed). Plus it's completely free. By making the request online or by phone, it takes 5-10 business days to get the transcript. 30 days via standard mail.

    That's good for the last 3 years of filing anyways. If you find yourself needing more than that, or the actual complete copy of your filed and processed tax return (like I did) it's a little more involved. And not free. Costs $57 for each year. Takes 60 days to deliver, and you have to first mail the IRS a 4506 form (details in the link).

    Anyways, took me a bit to figure all this out. So hope this helps someone needing transcripts. For most people, simply requesting your prior year transcript from IRS.gov is the easiest and fastest way to get the info you need.

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    I agree, this really does come in handy whenever you are switching to another filing source, and you don't have your last year's taxable income on hand, or years prior, for that matter.