IRS Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, provides public access to agency records unless protected from disclosure by one of the FOIA’s nine exemptions or three exclusions. The FOIA applies to records created by Federal agencies and does not cover records held by Congress, the courts, or state and local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws which should be consulted for access to state and local records.
The Internal Revenue Service complies with the FOIA by:
Maintaining publicly available materials on the Internet in the IRS Electronic Reading Room,
Staffing the IRS Freedom of Information Reading Room at 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20224, and
Responding to written requests for agency records not available in the Reading Room. IRS Disclosure Offices receive and process these requests within timeframes set by law. See the IRS FOIA Guide for more detailed information.
Electronic Reading Room
US Treasury FOIA Office
Policy Statement 11-13
FOIA Annual Reports
Guidance Accessing Info
IRS FOIA Guide
How to Write Your Request
Example FOIA Letter
Proof of Identity and Right to Access
IRS Disclosure Offices
CAF Client Listing Request
FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552
Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C.
IRS FOIA Regulations, 26 CFR § 601.702
Executive Order 13392
Improving Agency Disclosure of Information
This executive order, signed by President George W. Bush on December 14, 2005, requires each government agency to:
establish agency FOIA Service Centers (Center) to enable a FOIA requester to seek information concerning the status of a FOIA request and appropriate information about the agency's FOIA response; and
designate one or more FOIA Public Liaisons. FOIA Public Liaisons will serve as supervisory officials to whom a FOIA requester can raise issues about the service the FOIA requester has received from the Center.
To comply with the executive order the Office of Disclosure has:
designated each Disclosure Office as a FOIA Service Center; and
designated Disclosure Managers as the FOIA Public Liaison for each Center.
Additional Ways to Access Records
Many IRS records are available for sale from the Government Printing Office, or are available through established agency procedures. Routine requests are most efficiently processed through those procedures. Refer to the chart below for information on obtaining tax records or the Electronic Reading Room for publicly available records.
To obtain a copy of a tax return, a written request is required:
A fee of $39.00 is charged for each copy of a return as originally filed. Send completed Form 4506 to the address provided on the form. [Note: a transcript of a tax account is provided free of charge and may be accepted in lieu of an original return.]
By phone: Obtain a copy of Form 4506 by calling the IRS Forms hotline at (800) 829-3676.
Transcript of account:
Contact Taxpayer Service at (800) 829-1040 for individual taxpayer returns; at (800) 829-4933 for business taxpayers returns, or file Form 4506-T.
Tax-exempt or political organization returns:
By phone: Contact the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Hotline at (877) 829-5500, or send completed Form 4506-A to the address printed on the form.
Online: Forms 990 are available online through Guidestar, a privately funded database of nonprofit organizations. Some Employee Plan information is available online through private research services (e.g., FreeERISA.com ).
Tax forms and publications:
Online: Forms and Publications page
Phone: Contact the IRS Forms Hotline at (800) 829-3676
For tax account & technical tax law questions:
Individuals and businesses: Call Taxpayer Service at (800) 829-1040.
Employee plans, tax-exempt, or political organizations: Contact the Tax Exempt/Government Entities hotline at (877) 829-5500.
Useful information online: Frequently Asked Questions
Tax Court cases are not IRS records:
Copies are available by writing to: U.S. Tax Court , 400 Second Street, NW, Washington, DC 20217.
Online: Available through public legal research or library services. Opinions issued since 01/01/1999 can be retrieved from the Tax Court's Opinions Search page.
The Internal Revenue Code is not an IRS record:
An online version of the official copy of the IRC released by Congress can be accessed via the Tax Code, Regulations and Official Guidance page.
If you do need to make a FOIA request to obtain the records you seek, please refer to the links under Guidance Accessing Info on this page.