How to Find a Copy of Income Tax Return Online

It has been said that all legal records should be kept for seven years. This is the amount of time certain organizations can go back when reviewing information. The problem is that fires, floods and other "acts of God" can destroy the records. The IRS keeps copies of prior tax returns, but they are not available online. However, there are other ways to obtain a copy of a previous tax return online.


Step 1

Determine the tax preparer. The company that prepared the tax forms often keeps the tax payer information. If you filed online, the forms can be pulled from that website.

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Step 2

Choose a safe and secure Internet connection. Determine the email address used when filing prior tax returns. Most companies have the forms on their website for viewing. Other companies email the documents to the taxpayer.


Step 3

Complete the forms from tax retrieval companies, which charge about $30. The online retrieval companies only go back four to five years.


Step 4

Pay the fees and check the email used to request the copies of the tax returns. The documents should be able to be accessed within just a few minutes.


Step 5

Log on to the tax preparation website where you filed the previous returns. Click on the "prior return" button, if available. This should bring up any returns you previously filed.


The safest way to obtain prior tax return records is to download the IRS request forms. The returns will be delivered in the mail within 10 days. There is a phone number to request prior tax transcripts. The transcripts will be mailed within 10 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Social Security number

  • Correct tax year

  • Email address

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