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The Ins and Outs of Tax Return Copies and Transcripts

June 14, 2018

Taxpayers should keep a copy of tax returns for at least three years. This can help taxpayers prepare future tax returns or even assist with amending a prior year’s return.  Even though taxpayers may have a copy of their tax return, some taxpayers might still need a transcript, which are useful for mortgage or college financial aid application.




Taxpayers can get transcripts:

Transcripts are free and available for the current tax year and the past three years. A transcript usually displays most line items from the tax return. This includes marital status, the type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income. It also includes items from any related forms and schedules filed. It doesn’t reflect any changes the taxpayer or the IRS may have made to the original return.  Delivery times for online and phone orders typically take anywhere from five to 10 days.  Mail ordered transcripts can take 30 days to be received and up to 75 days for copies to be sent out.


Copies of tax returns


Taxpayers who need an actual copy of a tax return can get one for the current tax year and as far back as six years but must pay $50 per copy. Taxpayers will complete and mail Form