Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

August 11, 2013
How do I get copies of trust tax returns from the IRS?

Q: My friend's inheritance was managed by her husband. After their falling out, he refused to divulge where it was kept. It is unknown if the courts will be able to force him to while the divorce is under way. When she tried to get old tax returns to see where her inheritance-based income came from, so she could go find it herself, the IRS redirected her to collections, for the reason that her husband had not paid the taxes correctly and they owed back taxes. The only way she can pay the back taxes is if she regains control of her money. How does she find the right IRS person to let her look at her old tax returns and find out where her money is / was? I hired a tax CPA for her and so far he hits the same wall.

Sacramento, CA

A: Use IRS Form 4506 to request copies of tax returns filed for prior years. There is a $57 fee that has to be paid for each return requested. If you lived in California and are requesting copies of your individual income tax returns, Form 1040 and attachments, mail the completed Form 4506 with payment to the following address: RAIVS Team, Stop 37106, Fresno, CA 93888. If you lived in another state or are requesting a copy of another type of income tax return, such as for an estate or trust, see the instructions for the Form 4506 for the proper mailing address. According to the Form 4506 instructions, it may take up to 60 days to obtain copies of the returns after the form is filed.

You can obtain Form 4506 online from You can also go to the local IRS office at 4330 Watt Avenue, North Highlands, CA 95660 and obtain the form in person. You may be able to file the form over the counter there, as well.

If you want information regarding tax due for prior years, you can obtain a transcript of the tax return. Form 4506-T is used to request transcripts. You can also call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to request a transcript. The request can be placed through the IRS's web site at

If the returns were prepared by a paid income tax preparer, you should be able to obtain copies of the returns from them. Return preparers often keep copies of tax returns and the information provided to them to prepare the return for some time after completing the return. Since the statute of limitations for assessing additional tax is 3 years for federal purposes and 4 years for the state, many preparers keep returns for 5 years.

You friend should also be able to obtain information regarding the assets she inherited from the executor of the estate from which the assets came. That would at least be a starting place.

Finally, she may want to get her family law attorney involved in the matter. They may be able to force the husband to divulge copies of the tax returns and information regarding her inherited assets relatively quickly.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.

Personal Finance columns

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31