Ordering Tax Return Transcripts

Student at computer filing forms

How Do I Know if I Need to Order Tax Return Transcripts?


You will need to order a free tax return transcript for any of the following reasons:
  • You were selected for verification, used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and changed the imported data on the FAFSA or
  • You were selected for verification and could not or did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You would not have been able to use the Data Retrieval Tool if you filed:
    • Married, filing separately,
    • Head of household,
    • An amended tax return,
    • A foreign tax return, OR
    • Had a change in marital status after December 31, 2014.
    • Please Note: If you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool but choose not to at the time, you can log back into your FAFSA and use the Data Retrieval Tool rather than submit a Tax Return Transcript.

    How Do I Order My Tax Return Transcripts?

    You have three options to obtain your tax return transcripts:

    I'm Having Issues With My Address or Security Questions While Ordering Online. What Now?


    The address matching/security system used by the IRS to log in to their site requires an exact match of tax return information. We suggest that you have your taxes in front of you to copy your name ad address carefully. For example, spelling out the word “street” rather than using the abbreviation “St.” can be enough to cause an error in their system.
    If you get locked-out or need help, the IRS.gov Website Help Desk can be reached toll-free at 800.876.1715, Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm (Eastern Time).

    When Can I Order My Tax Return Transcripts?

    The timing of when you can successfully request a copy of your Tax Return Transcripts depends on if you owe taxes at the time of filing, and if you filed electronically or by paper. See below for more details.

    Electronic Filing
  • 2-3 weeks after submission in most cases

  • Paper Filing
  • 8-11 weeks after submission in most cases
  • Who Can Order the Tax Return Transcripts?

    Only the first person that was listed on the federal tax return can order a transcript.

    How Much Does it Cost?

    It is free to order or view a tax return transcript.

    How Long Does it Take to Receive My Tax Return Transcript?

    Please see the section above that details when a request can be made, as all requests must be made after the appropriate waiting period before they can be requested successfully. Requests to view the transcript online can be fulfilled immediately if all requirements are met. Requests made via the online order and phone options take an average of 5-10 days to be filled if all requirements are met.

    What is a Tax Account Transcript?

    While ordering, you may notice the option to request a tax account transcript. Please note that this will not satisfy the requirement. You must order a tax return transcript.

    Can I Send a Copy of My Tax Returns?

    The U.S. Department of Education no longer accepts a tax return for verification purposes. The only exception is if you filed amended tax returns (see below).

    I Filed Amended Tax Returns, What Do I Do?

    If you filed an amended tax return, you will need to submit a signed copy of your original IRS Form 1040 or a Tax Return Transcript, AND a signed copy of your IRS Form 1040X.
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