What Is an IRS Form 4506-T

The IRS provides transcripts of tax returns and tax accounts.
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Taxpayers use Internal Revenue Service Form 4506-T to order free transcripts of tax returns. Taxpayers often need copies of filed tax returns and the attached documents. Also, many third parties request the transcripts to verify income and confirm that the taxpayer has filed returns. The IRS limits the years for which you may request the transcripts. For instance, some transcripts are available only for the current tax year and three years prior, while others are not available at all for the current year.

Request for Transcript of Tax Return

Form 4506-EZ and Form 4506-T are two of the forms in the 4506 series. Use form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, to request transcripts only of 1040 series tax return forms. Businesses and individuals use 4506-T. You also use 4506-T if transcripts are needed for tax forms in addition to the 1040 series, such as the 1065 and 1120. Form 4506-T provides options for other types of transcripts as well, including the verification of non-filing and the account transcript for transaction information from a tax account. Use Form 4506-T to request a copy of a tax return, and not a transcript, if you need W-2 and 1099 copies filed with a tax return. The IRS charges a fee for tax return copies.

Who Needs the Form

In addition to individual taxpayers, third parties also request copies of Form 4506-T. For example, the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, requires mortgage lenders to obtain from borrowers a completed, signed Form 4506-T before or at the closing of the home-buying process. Some organizations that provide financial assistance, such as income-based discounts on utility payments, also require applicants to submit the 4506-T form. In some cases, municipal agencies might require the 4506-T as part of their vetting processes, such as when certifying a company's minority status for contracts.

Accessing the Form

The IRS provides an automated process on its website that taxpayers can use to request tax record transcripts. Taxpayers can also call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to request a transcript. Or, you can download Form 4506-T from the IRS website and print it out to complete and mail to the IRS. Companies that process the forms electronically with your authorization, and then submit the transcripts to the mortgage company, charge a fee for the service.

Form Instructions

As of publication, the IRS lets taxpayers request transcripts for only four tax years -- the current tax year and the three years before. A different 4506-T is required for each tax return form, such as the 1040 or 1120, for which you need a transcript. The form requires taxpayers to provide their names and Social Security numbers, transcript type and tax years. If a married couple files a joint return, either spouse can sign the 4506-T. See the form instructions for who signs when the taxpayer is a deceased person or a business entity. The IRS returns the transcript in 10 business days. Private processing companies promise a faster turnaround, often 48 hours.

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