How to view tax return transcripts online

The advent of the Internet makes filing federal and state tax returns quite easy. Most taxpayers can now file all of their forms required for tax season online--either through the Internal Revenue Service or through a private tax company. It's important to remember that you'll only be able to view your tax returns online if you filed online. Otherwise, you'll need to request hard copies from the IRS.

Go through your old tax records to find old user IDs and passwords that you may need to access prior year returns. Look at any income documents, IRS forms, Form 1040s and e-mails related to tax returns.

Visit the site listed in Resource 1. This is the IRS e-file site. You will need the Self-Select PIN you used when you filed your taxes. If you cannot find this number, contact the IRS for help (see Resource 2).

Log in to your IRS profile using your Self-Select PIN. Select the tax return year you wish to view/print. You will be directed to download a PDF copy of the return. This also can be saved to a computer or printed.

Find out where you e-filed for the year in question. You can e-file with a private company (Turbo Tax is a popular online filing company). You cannot request an online copy from the IRS if you filed with a private online service, and vice versa. Look through old e-mail records if you're unsure of the company.

Log on to the private company website where you filed. Use the user ID and password you collected from your old tax documents (or e-mail records). Contact the customer service department if you are unable to locate the user ID and password needed to access your old records.

Click on the link that relates to viewing current and old tax returns. You will be presented with an option to download a PDF copy of your return(s). Save this to your computer or print it out.

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About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

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