Does the IRS Accept Federal Tax Returns by Fax or Email?

by Jodee Redmond ; Updated March 15, 2018

The question “Can you fax your tax return to the IRS?” is a common one. You may also be wondering about sending your return by email.

The answer? There is no IRS email where you can send your forms or a way to fax your tax return. As an individual taxpayer you do, however, have three options for filing your income taxes electronically with the IRS.

Option 1: Use an IRS Free File or Fillable Forms

Choose IRS Free File if you know that your adjusted gross income (the amount of money you made minus certain deductions) for last year was less than $64,000.

If you aren’t sure about the amount of your adjusted gross income, you can find it on the income tax form you filed the previous year. (The IRS asks that you round the number up or down to the nearest whole dollar.)

You can look on these forms:

  • Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Line 38
  • Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Line 21
  • Form 1040EZ, Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents, Line 4

If you can’t find your income tax return from last year, you can:

  • Contact the IRS (1-800-829-1040) to request the information.
  • Complete a Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return). Keep in mind that it will take time (approximately 75 days) for the IRS to process the form once it is received. You will also have to pay a processing fee to the government.
  • Complete a Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return) requesting a transcript of your 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Send the form to the IRS by regular mail or fax. You do not have to pay a fee to request a transcript; however, it does take time to receive the information.

Free Fillable Forms are for taxpayers who have some knowledge about preparing their own taxes. This is the right option for you if you feel confident about handling your own tax return.

Option 2: Use a Tax Preparation Software Program

Many federal tax preparation software programs are available that can help you prepare your return. Several allow you to complete your return online and then pay only when you are ready to file. You can install other types of software on your computer.

The advantage of these programs is that you enter your data, and then the software does the work of calculating your return for you. You can review the results to check the numbers and make sure that you have plugged in all the figures correctly before filing your return electronically. The software will provide an estimate of your refund before you file.

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Option 3: Hire a Tax Professional to Prepare and File your Return Electronically

A professional can prepare your return and file it electronically for you. When you are looking for someone to perform this important task for you, ask family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers for recommendations.

Ask the tax consultant you are considering whether she or he is an authorized IRS e-file provider. This means the consultant is officially authorized by the government agency to prepare and electronically file income tax returns for clients.

You may not be able to send an IRS email or fax to file your income tax return, but taking the time to make sure it's accurate before you file electronically will get your refund in hand quickly.

About the Author

Jodee Redmond is a freelance writer, author, editor, blogger and award-winning Internet researcher. She is a graduate of Centennial College in Toronto who has been freelancing since 2000. Jodee has also worked as a tax consultant, in sales and was a legal assistant for a number of years.

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