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How To Look Up Old Tax Returns

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How To Access Old Tax Returns

How to Recover Past Tax Returns – TurboTax Tax Tip Video

This article was co-authored by Cassandra Lenfert, CPA, CFP®. Cassandra Lenfert is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner in Colorado. She has over 13 years of tax, accounting, and personal finance experience. She received her BA in Accounting from the University of Southern Indiana in 2006. This article has been viewed 37,465 times.

Accessing old tax returns may be necessary if you need to look up specific information about your income or your expenses. You can also use old tax returns as proof of your financial history for a mortgage or loan application. As a taxpayer, you are able to access a transcript or an official copy of old tax returns in just a few easy steps. A transcript is free to access, but each official copy of your old tax returns will cost you $50 USD as of March 2019.

How To Get A Tax Transcript

You get obtain a tax transcript online from the IRS website or by postal mail. There is no charge.

To order online, use the Get Transcript Online tool on To use the online tool, you must first register with the IRS and obtain a password. You’re required to provide:

  • Your social security number, date of birth, filing status, and mailing address from your latest tax return
  • Access to your email account
  • Your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, or car loan
  • A mobile phone number with your name on the account

Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds

If you are eligible for a federal tax refund and dont file a return, then your refund will go unclaimed. Even if you aren’t required to file a return, it might benefit you to file if:

  • Federal taxes were withheld from your pay


You may not have filed a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement. But you can still file a return within three years of the filing deadline to get your refund.

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How The Treasury Offset Program Works

Here’s how the Treasury Offset Program works:

  • The Bureau of Fiscal Services will check if your name and taxpayer information are in its delinquent debtor database.
  • If there is a match, BFS will notify you that it is deducting the amount you owe from your tax refund.
  • BFS will send the outstanding amount to the government agency to which you owed the money.
  • If you owe more money than the payment you were going to receive, then BFS will send the entire amount to the other government agency. If you owe less, BFS will send the agency the amount you owed, and then send you the remaining balance.

    Here’s an example: you were going to receive a $1,500 federal tax refund. But you are delinquent on a student loan and have $1,000 outstanding. BFS will deduct $1,000 from your tax refund and send it to the correct government agency. It will also send you a notice of its action, along with the remaining $500 that was due to you as a tax refund.

    The Internal Revenue Service can help you understand more about tax refund offsets.

    Masking Of Personal Information On Transcripts

    How To See My Past Tax Returns

    The IRS is fighting a war against identity theft and tax fraud. Thieves attempt to gain access to IRS transcript data to file fraudulent tax returns or engage in other crimes. To help prevent this, transcripts only display partial personal information, such as the last four digits of your social security number. Full financial and tax information, such as wages and taxable income, is shown on the transcript. You can see a sample of a redacted transcript on the IRS website.

    You may request an unmasked transcript for tax preparation. The IRS mails unmasked transcripts to your address in its records. Tax professionals can also obtain copies of their clients’ unmasked transcripts.

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    Customer File Number And Form 4506

    Because the full Taxpayer Identification Number no longer is visible, the IRS has created an entry for a Customer File Number for both individual and business transcripts. This is an optional 10-digit number that can be created usually by third-parties that allow them to match a transcript to a taxpayer. The Customer File Number field will appear on the transcript when that number is entered on Line 5 of Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return and Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-C, IVES Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

    Heres how it would work for a taxpayer seeking to verify income for a lender: The lender will assign a 10-digit number, for example, a loan number, to the Form 4506-T. The Form 4506-T may be signed and submitted by the taxpayer or if the lender is an IVES participant, a Form 4506-C, IVES Request for Tax Transcript signed by the taxpayer and submitted by the lender. The Customer File Number assigned by the requestor on the Form 4506-T or Form 4506-C will populate on the transcript. The requestor may assign any number except the taxpayers Social Security number. Once received by the requester, the transcripts Customer File Number serves as the tracking number to match it to the taxpayer.

    How Do I Find My Old W2

    TurboTax does not have a copy of the W-2. It would have a Wage and Tax Statement worksheet that included the information from the W-2 and emulates a W-2. The worksheet would be included in the PDF of the tax return if you downloaded the PDF to include All forms and worksheets in the tax year the return was completed.

    If you cannot obtain the W-2 from your employer, then for a fee of $37 you can get a complete copy of a W-2 from the Social Security Administration –

    You can get a free Wage and Income transcript from the IRS by completing a Form 4506-T –

    See this IRS website for transcripts –

    For a fee of $50 you can get a complete federal tax return to include copies of W-2’s from the IRS by completing Form 4506 –

    See this IRS Tax Topic –

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    Copies Of Tax Returns

    A copy of your tax return is exactly that a duplicate of the return you mailed or e-filed with the IRS. For a fee, the IRS can provide up to six years back, plus the current years tax return, if youve already filed yours. Youll need to fill out and mail Form 4506 to the IRS to request a copy of a tax return.

    You might need a copy of your old tax return, rather than a tax transcript, if more-detailed information from prior tax returns is required or if older tax information is needed.

    Transcript Delivery System And The Customer File Number

    Tax Tips On Second Look From H& R Block

    The Transcript Delivery System is for use only by tax professionals with proper authorization to access taxpayer transcripts. Tax Professionals authorized to access transcripts can enter a 10-digit Customer File Number that automatically will populate on the transcript provided through TDS. This process allows high-volume users to match the transcript to the taxpayer.

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    If You Dont Expect To Get A Tax Slip

    You have 2 options:

    Option 1:
    Get your tax slip from the CRA

    You may be able to get slips for the current and past years from the CRA if the issuer has sent them to us.

    Get tax slips by phone
    Before you call

    To verify your identify, you’ll need:

    • Social Insurance Number
    • full name and date of birth
    • your complete address
    • details from your notice of assessment or reassessment, proof of income, or other tax document

    If you are calling the CRA on behalf of someone else, you must be an .

    Telephone number

    Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:1-866-426-1527

    Outside Canada and U.S. :613-940-8495

    9 am to 5 pm
    Sat and Sun
    Option 2:
    Estimate your income without tax slips

    If you can’t get a slip in time to file your taxes, you can estimate your income manually. Add up your pay stubs or financial statements to estimate the income to report, and any related deductions and credits you can claim.

    Include a note with your return stating the name and address of the issuer of the slip, the type of income, and what you are doing to get the slip.

    • If you file electronically: Keep all of your documents in case the CRA asks to see them later.
    • If you file by paper: Attach a copy of the pay stubs or statements and your note to your paper return. Keep the original documents.

    If All Else Fails For An Ein Lookup Call The Irs

    If none of the above search methods work for you, calling the IRS is another simple and straightforward option.

    The IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line is accessible at 1-800-829-4933 from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.

    Simply call the number and tell the representative you need your EIN. For this method to work, you need to have access to certain sensitive identification information, however, if youve got that then its a pretty painless process aside from the typically long wait times.

    Keep in mind that to obtain your EIN over the phone you must be able to prove that youre a qualified person including:

    • The sole proprietor in a sole proprietorship
    • Partner in a partnership
    • Corporate officer

    Once youve answered their security questions, theyll be able to provide your business EIN.

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    How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Returns

    Once you file your taxes, you should plan to keep your tax returns for a minimum of three years from the date you filed your original return.

    You can also keep them for two years if you are calculating from the date you paid the tax, whichever comes later. However, if you file a claim for a loss from securities or bad debt deduction, then you should plan to keep your records for at least seven years.

    If You Preparedyour Taxes Online

    How Do I Find My Tax Return For 2015

    You’ll have to use your TurboTax login if you used the online version of the product. Make sure you sign in to the same account you used to prepare your return. From there, it’s a simple matter of clicking on the “Documents” tab, then on the tax year you want, then finally on “Download PDF.”

    TurboTax suggests using the “Account Recovery” tool if you can’t find the return you’re looking for. It’s possible that you’re not signed in under the same account you used to prepare it.

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    Ein Lookup: Finding Your Ein Is Simple And Easy

    How do I find my EIN number?! Its so hard!

    It can be frustrating to attempt to open a new business account or apply for financing, be asked for your EIN, and proceed to find out that youve lost it and all relevant paperwork with your EIN or Tax ID number on it .

    However, there are several simple and easy ways to obtain your EIN even if you dont have a single tax return or your confirmation letter.

    If you cant find your EIN or Tax ID number, look around for your confirmation letter, and if you cant find it, look through your relevant tax and business documents. If that doesnt work, simply give the IRS a call and provide the necessary information.

    No matter what, obtaining your EIN should be easy. So, if youve lost it, and not having it is holding you back from moving forward with something important, dont sweat it.

    Can You Get Prior Year Tax Information From The Irs

    There are a few times where you may run into a situation where you need to provide a copy of your prior year tax return. For instance, you could be applying for a home mortgage loan and need proof of income or maybe you misplaced it and would just sleep better at night knowing you have a copy in your filing cabinet. Either way, in most circumstances, a paper transcript of this information will do. Before venturing to the IRS website, be sure to have the following information ready:

    • social security number
    • street address currently on file with the IRS
    • zip code currently on file with the IRS
    • type of transcript needed

    Happy hunting!

    Tags: amended tax return, contact the IRS, progress of tax return, tax refund, where’s my refund tool

    This entry was postedon Thursday, October 20th, 2016 at 3:22 pmand is filed under Taxes for Prior Years.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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    Undelivered Federal Tax Refund Checks

    Refund checks are mailed to your last known address. If you move without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service , your refund check may be returned to the IRS.

    If you were expecting a federal tax refund and did not receive it, check the IRS’Wheres My Refund page. You’ll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. You may be prompted to change your address online.

    You can also to check on the status of your refund. Wait times to speak with a representative can be long. But, you can avoid waiting by using the automated phone system. Follow the message prompts when you call.

    If you move, submit a Change of Address – Form 8822 to the IRS you should also submit a Change of Address to the USPS.

    Irs: Statistics Of Income National Sample Data

    How to View Past History of Income Tax Returns
    • Corporate Source Book Files, compiled 1965-1990National Archives Identifier:646618
    • Online Access:

      This series includes information from a sample of filed income tax returns, excluding returns with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more, recorded on IRS Forms 1040 and 1040A and the associated schedules. Certain personal data have been deleted to prevent identification of individual taxpayers, although these records include a state of residence identifier. These files are an augmented version of the 1977 and 1978 files from the series “Individual Income Tax Model Files” . These files have been preserved as EBCDIC fixed-length records with packed decimal fields and can be made available as exact copies only.

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    Register If You Havent Already To Use The Canada Revenue Agency To Find Your Old T4 Slips

    Click here to register. For this, youll need your social insurance number, your date of birth, your postal code, and your tax returns from the previous two years. Once youve registered, youll be sent, via snail mail, a security code to verify your account. It should only take a couple of days to get your security code, and once youve entered that in, you can move on to step two.

    Irs Transcripts Are Free

    Your other option is to order a tax transcript from the IRS rather than an actual copy of your return. The IRS makes two types of transcripts available: a tax return transcript and a tax account transcript, and both are free. A transcript is more or less a summary of the information included in your return and your payment and refund histories.

    Mail in Form 4506T-EZ if you want a tax return transcript, or Form 4506T if you want a tax account transcript. You can also request a transcript online from the “Get Transcript Online” page of the IRS website, or even call the agency, although the IRS isn’t taking phone calls in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    It will take from five to 30 days to get the transcript, depending on whether you make the request online or via USPS mail, and they’re only available for four years the current year and the previous three.

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    How To Get Rid Of Your Tax Records

    When its finally time to wave goodbye to that mountain of paperwork, its important to remember that getting your tax documents would be a criminals dream come true. These documents include your name, address, Social Security number and all the information needed to steal your identity, so getting rid of them requires extra attention.

    When you dispose of tax records, make sure you keep your information safe, Flores says. Shred paper documents and wipe electronic records before disposing of old electronics to protect yourself from identity theft. Whether you retain paper or electronic documents, ensure they are safe and secure and keep an encrypted back-up.

    View Your Tax Return Online

    When Are Tax Returns Due if you have Old Outstanding ...

    If you paid a professional tax preparer to file your tax return, the easiest way to view this information online is to access an online account that the tax preparer set up for you. You may need to create an online account if you dont already have one, but your tax preparer can walk you through the steps. If this option is not available to you, theres another way to retrieve your tax information, by accessing the database of the IRS.

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