So, you’re probably gearing up to get all your documents in order for tax season, right? Do you participate in a retirement plan and need a copy of your Retirement Plan’s IRS Form 5500? Well, first you should check with the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) and/or Investment Provider to your Plan as this will be the easiest option. Otherwise, you can obtain IRS Form 5500 for the prior year and as far back as 2009 (when the Department of Labor (DOL) began publishing most Form 5500’s) at the DOL website: https://www.efast.dol.gov/portal/app/disseminate?execution=e1s1. The DOL search engine identifies Form 5500 and 5500-SF filings received by EFAST2. However, filings for plan years prior to 2009 are not displayed through this website.

Need a transcript or copy of your prior year individual tax return? It’s easy!

If you need a copy of your tax return because you don’t have one, first check with your software provider or tax preparer. Otherwise, you can request one for the current tax year and as far back as six years from the IRS. However, plan ahead because it takes approximately 75 days to process a request for a copy of a filed tax return and the fee per copy is $50 as assessed by the IRS.

However, if all you need is a tax transcript, you can request one from the IRS for free. A tax transcript summarizes return information and includes adjusted gross income (AGI). In most cases, a transcript has all the tax information you need. For example, when applying for home mortgages or college financial aid, tax transcripts are often necessary. Mortgage companies normally arrange to get one for a homeowner or potential homeowner.

The most popular types of transcripts are:

  • Tax Return Transcript: A tax return transcript shows most line items including AGI from an original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after the filing of the original return. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years.
  • Tax Account Transcript: A tax account transcript shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after the filing of the original return.
How to Get a Transcript

Online
The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to use the Get Transcript application. Once you verify your identity, you will be able to view and print your transcript immediately online.

By Mail
If you’re unable or prefer not to use Get Transcript Online, you may order a tax return transcript or a tax account transcript by mail:

  • using the online tool Get Transcript by Mail;
  • calling 800-908-9946; or
  • completing and sending either Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ to the IRS. You can also use Form 4506-T to request other tax records: tax account transcript, record of account, wage and income and verification of non-filing. These forms and more are available on the Forms, Instructions, and Publications page on IRS.gov.

Transcripts typically arrive at the address on file for you within 10 calendar days from the time IRS receives your request. So, get ahead this tax season and start gathering your documents early.

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