How to Find Tax Return Information on People

Information on a person's tax return can be found by various methods.

There are many legal, financial or business reasons why you might want tax return information on people, especially if you are an attorney or tax adviser. You might be involved in a family-law matter such as a divorce, a probate matter or a civil law suit. Using multiple resources, such as reviewing public property tax records, court records and other public records, and obtaining the person's authorization, might be necessary to find the information.


Tax Lien Searches

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Step 1

A background search will give you certain tax return information such as tax liens.

Search for federal or state tax liens filed against a person to obtain certain tax return information such as that person's date of birth, address, amount of lien, and name of person who filed the lien, by conducting a background search online. You will need to know the person's name and where the person resides to narrow your search. There is a fee for the service, which can be paid by credit card or debit card.


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Step 2

Searching the county assessor's records can yield tax information about a person.

Search the county property tax assessor's records online or visit the assessor's office in the county where the person resides or owns property. If you are not sure which counties to search, you might have to search several. You will need the person's name or the property address and any other information that helps identify her. You should be able to find her mailing address and/or telephone number, address of any property she owns in the county, value of her property, and the amount of property taxes she paid on each property.


Step 3

A person can authorize a tax preparer or legal representative to obtain her returns.

Obtain the person's signature and authorization on IRS Tax Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization Form, if you are a tax preparer, attorney, financial adviser or other legal representative needing information about his tax return, or copies of the return, for legal or financial purposes. Include your contact information and his Social Security number, address, tax year, tax form number you are requesting, and tax matter. Mail the form to the IRS address indicated on the form.



Step 4

A court order can give you tax information on a person.

Obtain a court order, file interrogatories and a request for document production with the court, or obtain a subpoena requesting that the person provide her tax information, including tax returns. Or serve her employer with a subpoena requesting the W-2 and other employment records in connection with a civil-litigation matter or a family-law matter. You will be able to review all tax information on her tax return, including income sources and employment information, interest income and real estate income.


To find tax return information, obtain as much personal information as possible about the person whose tax return information you are looking for, including full name, city and state where he lives, and whether he owns any property. Tax return information about individuals can also be found by searching public court records and county property tax records.


It is difficult to obtain all of a person's tax return information, including tax returns, unless you have a court order or subpoena, or file a request for document production and interrogatories with the court, or obtain written authorization from the person. A person's Social Security number is private. You must obtain her authorization or have her give you the number. By having a person sign IRS Form 8821, tax providers, legal representatives and attorneys can obtain her authorization to release tax return information to them from the state or federal government.

Things You'll Need

  • Person's name, city and state of residence, and other identifying information

  • IRS Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization Form



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