Most taxpayers will ask for a copy of their prior year tax return. In many cases, however, a transcript will provide the information they need more quickly. Transcripts provide taxpayers with a computer-created record of their tax return which includes most of the line-items as filed with the IRS, including any accompanying forms and schedules. The transcript does not reflect any changes the taxpayer, his/her representative, or the IRS made after the return was filed.
To download Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return) or Form 4506T (Request for Transcript of Return), refer to this IRS.gov page.
If you were impacted by a federally declared disaster, you may request a transcript by phone at 1-866-562-5227 (Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Friday, your local time - except Alaska and Hawaii which are Pacific time.) You will still need to submit Form 4506 for an actual copy of a return. Send your request to the office indicated on Form 4506. You may fax or mail your request. Write the word “Disaster” on the top of Form 4506 and your request will be expedited at no charge.
If the taxpayer used a professional preparer to prepare the prior year's return, he/she can request a copy of the return from the preparer. If they need help locating the preparer, the Electronic Return Originator data base may help.