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Prepare for Upcoming Tax Season, request a Transcript or Copy of a Prior Year Tax Return

We have a brand new year here so let’s start talking about what to do to prepare for the upcoming tax season to make life a little bit easier.  The first thing to do is get out last year’s tax return and take a look at it.  Usually, taxpayers don’t change much from year to year and the same kinds of expenses that you incurred last year are probably similar.

Next, start organizing your expense receipts by placing different receipts in an envelope by category of expense, i.e. mortgage interest, real estate taxes, charitable contributions, W-2s, interest income, dividend income, and so on.  Putting your receipts in envelopes by category will make your life a lot easier come tax time.

You may need copies of your filed tax returns for many reasons. For example, they can help you prepare future tax returns. You’ll need them if you have to amend a prior year tax return. You often need them when you apply for a loan to buy a home or to start a business. You may need them if you apply for student aid. If you can’t find your copies, you can request a copy of previous tax returns from the IRS. There is a fee the IRS charges for this service, check the IRS website or contact your tax professional.

Here’s how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:

  • A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return that you filed. It also includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules that you filed. It doesn’t reflect any changes you or the IRS made after you filed your original return.
  • A tax account transcript includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income. It does include any changes that you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it.
  • You can get them by phone, by mail or by fax within five to 10 days from the time IRS receives your request.

– To request copies of your transcripts, go to  and use the Get Transcript tool.
– To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts. You can also request your transcript using your smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app.
– To request an individual tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

  • If you need a copy of your filed and processed tax return, it will cost a fee for each tax year. You should complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to make the request. 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. You should allow 75 days for delivery.
  • If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you can get a free copy of your tax return. Visit for more disaster relief information.

After you have copies of last year’s return or transcript, contact your accountant or tax preparer as soon as possible and schedule an appointment.  Most accountants pre-schedule their appointments and send letters out the first or second week of January.  If you wait until the last minute (late March or early April), you will usually pay more to have your tax return prepared because the tax preparers put a premium on the stress taxpayers place on them, waiting until the last minute.

Finally, make sure that if you have changed your name or marital status, let the Social Security Administration know about the change. Because, if the name does not agree with the Social Security number both at the IRS and at the SSA, the deduction for your personal exemption will be delayed, if not disallowed.  This can cost a great deal of tax. The average taxpayer will lose about $1,000 in tax savings for each person that does not have a matching name and social security number.  This also includes your children.


Here are some points to remember:


  • Examine a copy of your last year’s tax return or transcript to review expenses


  • Categorize expenses with envelopes (i.e. income, mortgage expense, real estate taxes, auto tags, charitable contributions, medical expenses, etc.)


  • Make sure you schedule your tax appointment early


  • Verify with the IRS and Social Security Administration that names and social security numbers match (if name has changed)


Call today, don’t delay! See how this affects you. We can be reached at 602-264-9331 and on all social media under azmoneyguy.




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