Q&A: How to get tax return copies

Dear Liz: Isn’t it the duty of an accountant to send their client the final tax forms that they filed with the IRS and the state? My accountant keeps “forgetting” to do so, and I’ve called him twice to do this. I’m not sure if his constant “forgetfulness” is due to laziness or a health issue such as dementia. I suspect it might be the latter, as he never used to be this way in past years.

Is there another way to get a copy of my returns? I will obviously be looking for a new accountant.

Answer: Yes, you can request copies or transcripts of your returns from the IRS and your state tax agency.

Transcripts are free, and are available for the previous three years. Personally identifiable information such as your name, address and Social Security number will be hidden, but you’ll be able to see all the financial entries, such as your adjusted gross income, taxes paid and so on. You can request transcripts online at irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript, by phone at (800) 908-9946 or by mail using either Form 4506-T or Form 4506-T-EZ and using the IRS address listed on the form.

Copies of your actual tax returns will cost you $43 each. You can request those by filling out and mailing Form 4506.

Your state will have similar procedures, which you can find by searching for your state’s name and the phrase “How do I get a copy of my state tax return?”

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