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How to File & Receive Back My Income Taxes


Download the forms, instructions and publications for the tax year(s) in which you're filing back taxes. You can download the forms at the IRS website or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.


Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to request that your income information be mailed to you. Allow 7 to 10 days mailing time to receive your earnings information in the mail. The IRS representative can manually fax your income information if you are at or near a fax machine during the time of the call. If you prefer, you can also request your income information in writing by completing IRS Form 4506-T. Fill in your name and address, then check box 8 and in box 9, enter the years for which you are requesting the W-2 or 1099s. You may also be able to access your account information through an online service such as W-2 Express. It allows taxpayers to access their W-2s online if their employer uses the service.


Complete your income tax returns and mail them to the IRS office that processes returns for your region. If you are not sure which office processes returns for your area, visit the IRS website.


Include IRS Form 9465 with your return if you owe money as a result of your filings and need to make payment arrangements. There is a $105 one-time fee to set up the agreement.

Tips and Warnings

  • You are only allowed three years from the due date of your return before the statute of limitations expires and you are no longer allowed to claim a refund.
  • When you download your 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ and instructions, download the forms for the year in which you are filing taxes. The IRS amends tax law each year and often the changes implemented affect the tax calculations. For example, the standard deduction amount is tied directly to your tax liability and is often increased by the IRS. Filing a form for the wrong year will result in the wrong standard deduction and thus an incorrect calculation of your tax liability amount.
  • You cannot file prior year tax returns online so all of your returns will need to be mailed to the IRS. The time frame for processing mailed returns is 6 to 8 weeks. You will either receive a check by mail or a direct deposit depending on the selection made on your tax return.

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