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  • From the Mailbag: Can a Private Investigator Get Your Tax Return Filings

    by Brian Willingham

    Post image for From the Mailbag: Can a Private Investigator Get Your Tax Return Filings

    Dear Diligentia Group:

    My mother filed for a divorce two years ago in New York. The case is now in the United Kingdom. She is going through a very complicated divorce from my father who has lied about his assets. My father has provided tax return filings to the court, but my mother thinks they have been altered. She would like to be able to prove to the judge in the U.K. that my father is lying.

    Can a private investigator get a copy of my father’s tax filings?

    Tax return filings are not publicly available in the United States, but they can be obtained through written authorization of the taxpayer. That is the only way to get a copy of someone else’s tax returns.

    Full copies of tax filings can be requested from the Internal Revenue Service by completing Form 4506. The taxpayer must sign the form, and once the request is completed, the tax returns can be sent to a third party.

    Each filing year will cost $57. Records dating as far back as seven years are typically available.

    Alternatively, Form 4506-T provides a transcript of the tax return, which includes some basic information such as wages and income, W-2 information, 1099 information and tax liability.

    In short, there is no way for a private investigator to obtain tax return filings without specific permission from the taxpayer.

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