How to Recover a Lost Tax Return

Tax returns are used for various financial dealings.

Tax returns are used for various financial dealings.

The IRS recommends keeping copies of tax returns for at least three years. Along with proving that you filed your return, the information on the tax return can prove your income amount and help you to obtain a mortgage or loan. If you need your returns for these or any other reason, but they have been misplaced or damaged, you can obtain a copy from the IRS.

Obtain IRS form 4506-T. The form can be found on the IRS website, Print the form and fill it out using a blue- or black-ink pen. Be sure to write legibly.

Fill in your name, address and social security number on the form. Write the type of tax return that you are requesting in the space provided, such as 1040 or 1065. Also list the year of the missing tax return. Sign and date the form at the bottom as indicated.

Mail or fax the form to the address or fax number provided in the instructions on form 4506-T. The address of where to send the form depends on the state in which you live.

Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to have a copy of form 4506-T mailed to you if you are not able to print a copy. Be prepared to give personal identifying information to the IRS when calling, including your name, address, telephone number and Social Security number.


  • Most forms will be processed within 10 days of the IRS receiving the request.
  • Transcripts that are being sent to a third party may take up to 120 days to process.

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.

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