We often struggle to be organized at all times, and many of us can be prone to losing important documents. However, it is always a good idea to have copies of your past year returns. If you are in the middle of negotiating with the IRS, or you suspect that a previous tax return was wrong and you need/want to amend that return, these tax returns will be necessary. Here’s how to get a copy or transcript for any of your returns from past years.

First, you need to request the past tax return you desire. This is as simple as contacting the IRS through phone or mail. Keep in mind the difference between a transcript, which should be provided free of charge, tax return copies (exact copies) are $50 each. Once you have contacted the IRS you will be required to file a Form 4506-T if you desire a transcript or Form 4506 for an exact copy of the return. Remember the exact copies are $50 per each return and you should enclose the fee when you file the Form 4506. You can also use the IRS application to get a transcript. You will need to know the address used with your last return, your date of birth, filing status, and Social Security Number to use the IRS dedicated process.

If you are unable to store all of your past returns, we recommend that you at least store the past 3 years of returns. We recommend 3 years because that time limit is the IRS’s statute of limitations. If you are a steady client with a tax preparation service, your tax professional is required to store your last 3 years of tax returns (and all other important tax documents) for several years.

If physical copies are difficult for you to maintain, we also recommend scanning all of your tax returns on record and storing them in a secure, password-protected location on your personal computer. That way, if you ever need to access one, you can easily access it and print it out for use.

At Private Tax Solutions when we file a return, we also request the previous year tax return to guarantee that you get the best return possible. Call us at 844-774-8829 to schedule a consultation with one of our tax professionals and get peace of mind from smart solutions.

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