Obtaining Copies Of Previous Expat Tax Returns

Taxes Made More Complicated

How to Get a Transcript or Copy of a Prior Year’s Expat Tax Return

Filing US expat tax returns necessitates a lot of important tax documentation. At the top of the list are copies of your last year’s and previous years’ expat tax returns. For many Americans living abroad, the task of locating any past tax documentation may be daunting, especially if they’ve recently moved or are new to filing expat tax returns.  However, there’s an easy solution for anyone who cannot physically locate their expat tax returns: copies may be obtained directly from the IRS.

What You Can Request Regarding Your Federal Expat Tax Returns

Thankfully, the IRS makes it simple to request copies of your Federal expat tax returns. Americans living abroad can request free tax return transcripts for current, and up to the past three tax years of, expat tax returns.  According to the IRS, the transcripts will show most line items from your tax return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes made after the return was filed.

If you would like more detail, you can also request a tax account transcript, which will show any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after you filed your expat tax return. This transcript shows basic data including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

Requests may be made via the web, phone, or by mail. Ordering online, you can visit IRS.gov and use the online tool called Order A Transcript. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message.

To request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript through the mail, complete IRS Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses, partnerships and individuals who need transcript information from other forms or need a tax account transcript must use Form Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

If you order online or by phone, you should receive your tax return transcript within five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail.

A Few Important Notes About Requesting Past Expat Tax Returns

If you need an actual copy of a previously filed and processed tax return, it will cost $57 for each tax year you order. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area.  Copies are generally available for the current year and past six years. Please allow 60 days for delivery.

The fee for copies of tax returns may be waived if you are in an area that is declared a federal disaster by the President. Visit IRS.gov, keyword “disaster,” for more guidance on disaster relief.

Need Help With Expat Tax Documents?

We have a post, “Managing Your Documents After You File – US Expat Taxes Explained,” that might be helpful for you. If you have any questions about filing your expat tax return or would like to learn about our expat tax services, please contact us.