For many American taxpayers, filing your taxes each year can seem like an arduous process. While some taxpayers are fortunate enough to have very simple returns, and just a handful of documents needed in order to finalize and submit their income tax return, for many others, including entrepreneurs, small business owners and those with multiple businesses, keeping track of the all the required documentation can feel like a full time job. The tax experts at Optima Tax Relief explain how taxpayers can request any necessary documents you may need to have in your files from the IRS.

Typically, a request for a tax return can simply be satisfied by printing out a digital copy of your return – this is known as a transcript. However, there are also many instances where original copies of specific tax returns – or the various components of your tax return, including original attached document submissions – are required.

If you find yourself in need of securing additional or replacement copies for your submitted documents, these documents are typically accessible for the current year, as well as going as far back as six years. The taxpayer listed on the income tax return (or either spouse in the case of a joint filing) can submit their official request using Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return (PDF). Once you have completed and signed the form, you can mail it to the address specified on the form, along with a $50 fee for each tax return you have requested. It can take the IRS up to 75 days to process the request, so keep that in mind. In the case of a natural disaster, the IRS will waive the fees due, and offer expedited processing. 

Before ordering your official copy, check to see if you’re able to download your transcript; which are available free of charge from the IRS, and can be requested directly from the Get Transcript section of the website.

If you suspect someone has fraudulently filed a tax return using your name and social security number, the process is different – in that case, the form to be used is Form 4506-F, Request for Copy of Fraudulent Tax Return (PDF).