Help is available for taxpayers who need tax information for prior years but still need to keep copies of their returns. There are ways to get the information you need.
Keep in mind the IRS recommends that taxpayers keep copies of their returns and any documentation for at least three years after filing:
- Ask your software provider or tax preparer. This is often the easiest way to get a copy of your tax returns.
- Order a tax transcript. Taxpayers who cannot get a copy of a prior-year return may order a tax transcript from the IRS. This document partially masks personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. All financial entries, including the filer’s adjusted gross income, are apparent. These are free and available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. People can also get these records for the past three years.
- Pay for a copy from the IRS. As a last resort, you can purchase a copy of your tax return from the IRS. Check the IRS website for the most recent information on the process to follow when ordering a copy and the cost of the return.
*This information is not intended to substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
Footnotes and Sources
- IRS.gov, November 14, 2023.