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6 Steps to Get a Your Old Tax Returns for Free

6 Steps to Get a Your Old Tax Returns for Free

Filing the taxes can get a little complicated when you don’t have your old records to tally. Most of the time, we seek references, and finding how we handled a particular expense in the previous tax season can actually help a lot! Well, it does pinch the pocket to get a copy of an old tax return, but in this article, we are going to explain how you can have it for free. Interesting? Isn’t it? Read on to find out the details.

Points covered:

  1. When do a copy of old tax return can come handy
  2. Old Tax Return Vs Tax Transcript
  3. How to get a copy of Old Tax Returns from the IRS
  4. Step By Step Guide: Get a Free copy of Old Tax Returns from the IRS
  5. Wrap Up

When do a copy of old tax return can come handy

 It is of utmost importance to save your returns. For that matter, any other supporting documents that you might require for future tax references should also be saved. The best advice is to keep yourself inadvertently ready for a rainy day, if not, a copy of the same will always come handy. Some of the most popular reasons, according to popular trends for keeping a copy Old Tax return which may come in use under these circumstances are –

  • To calculate AGI Amount
  • Show Proof of Income
  • Filing an Amended return
  • Loan Applications
  • FASFA/Financial Aid
  • Filing for Bankruptcy
  • Filing for Divorce

Out of these, the following are the three main reasons to make you understand why you should start taking the tax records a little more seriously than you do now.

Compare & Curtail on Current Expenses

Having a copy would help you track your old returns, refunds, payments, as well as overall expenses. You can compare the old data with your current year scenario and do some smart planning to avoid money holes.

For Mortgage, College Aid or Other Loans

Loan givers generally ask for a copy of old tax returns or tax transcripts for verification purposes. The Internal Revenue Service or the IRS generally recommends saving tax records for a minimum of three years and in certain cases, a couple of years more.

For Advance Planning of Tax Refund

This is quite helpful! A copy of your old tax returns often helps in preparing the future returns in an organized form. It can help you to check, compare, and find out the difference between your previous and next tax refund.

Old Tax Return vs. Tax Transcript

For the common suburban family man and the New York urban crawler, the term transcript and tax file return copy might sound the same, even though in certain cases a copy of your tax return is crucial while in other cases tax transcript is sufficient. But trust us, knowing the difference will give you a better edge and advantage over other oblivious filers and will save your tie when you need documentation of your income.

There is a major difference between old tax returns and tax transcripts. A particular tax return transcript puts up all the line items of your original tax return that has been filed. The supporting forms and schedules are also attached to it. To be more specific, it also includes the adjusted gross income (AGI). What the tax return transcript does not contain is any change that has been made to your original tax return after it has been filed. You can get a tax return transcript for the on-going tax year and the previous three years.

On the contrary, a copy of an old tax return contains all the amendments one has made to the original return. And, you can easily get a copy of your tax return from the previous seven years. Technically speaking, an old tax return is your final manuscript of all your tax records.

How to Get a Copy of an Old Tax Return from the IRS

You can easily apply for records of old tax returns for maximum up to the last seven years. Also, you can ask for a copy of the same by filling out Form 4506 and attaching a payment of $50 for each copy.

Once you have requested the same, the IRS may require up to 60 days for processing your request.

That was how you can get a paid copy. But, the question here is: why would you go for a paid copy when you can have it for free? Addressed below is a step-by-step procedure to get a copy of your old tax returns, that too free of cost.

How to Get Old Tax Returns for Free

Step 1: Go to the IRS website and download the Form 4506. It is one and the only way to obtain copies of previous tax returns from the IRS.

Step 2: Once you have downloaded the form, enter your name and Social Security Number (SSN) on line 1.

In case you’ve filed a joint return with your spouse for any year that you have been requesting copies for, then provide your spouse’s name and Social Security Number on line 2.

It is a very crucial piece of information, so be careful while you fill in. Check thoroughly before submitting the form.

Step 3: Enter your address! You’ll need to fill out your current address on line 3. If there is any change in your current address (than the address you have reported on your past-filed returns), make sure to enter the earlier address on line 4.

Further, if you want a copy of your tax return to be sent directly to a third party, it could be a bank evaluating your mortgage application, or a college aid then you can enter the third-party details including name, address, and phone number on line 5. If there is no third party, then you will receive your copy at your current address.

Step 4: Enter the details of the form you used while filing your federal income tax return on line 6. Like in most cases, if you are looking for a personal income tax return, then you must have filed through Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Along with this, please enter the tax years you are requesting copies for on the line after.

Step 5: In the line 8b, enter the number of returns you are requesting for.

Step 6: The next and the final step is to sign the form and mail to the appropriate IRS address. Also, the Page 2 of Form 4506 requests the original address as listed by the state, which you’ve filed the original return form. While requesting a joint return, it is not necessary for your spouse to sign Form 4506. You may do it to get a copy of the joint return.

Before mailing in please make sure you have enclosed all the supporting schedules, documents. Otherwise, your request might just get denied.

Wrap Up

There are several ways of obtaining your tax return information and store a future copy. You have plenty of websites available on the internet where you can download it for free. But, if you want it from the IRS website directly, plan from way ahead, as it can take up a few days before the IRs guys pick up your request. Sometimes it can be quite tedious and annoying, so avoid falling for a scam. Remember, if the IRS wants to notify you something, it will inform you directly and not through a phishing email and counterfeit messages.

However, if you want to cash in on a free check, here are some additional sources from which you can avail a free copy of your old tax return.

  • – It is an exclusive online software that helps you to understand your taxes and files it on your behalf. It ensures faster, easier, and accurate filling. Most importantly, it also provides discount coupons to its users.
  • FreeTaxUSA – It offers a free tax payment procedure to its customers. Although, the charges apply only for the State Tax Return and the Deluxe Edition. It is a convenient online platform that helps taxpayers in filling up their returns and getting an online copy of submitted tax.
  • LibertyTax – It is a well-established platform with dedicated professionals to look into your tax problems and payments.
  • TaxAct – It includes free tax filing support even on your phone. The software is very simple and you can easily fill your taxes through it.

Hope this article helps you get your next copy of your old tax return without a hassle or a penny!

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