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Lost Tax Returns During Divorce: What to Do in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2023 | Firm News |

A divorce can be a challenging time, and gathering all the necessary financial documents is crucial for a fair and equitable settlement. However, sometimes important paperwork, such as tax returns, can go missing during the process. If you find yourself in this situation during a Minnesota divorce, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to retrieve or replace your tax returns and ensure the divorce proceedings continue smoothly. In this blog post, we will explore practical solutions for dealing with lost tax returns during a divorce in Minnesota.

  1. Request Copies from the IRS

The first step in recovering lost tax returns is to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can request tax return transcripts, which provide detailed information from your past tax filings. You can order transcripts online (https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript), by phone, or by mail.

  1. Reach Out to Your Tax Preparer

If you used a tax professional or accountant to prepare your tax returns, they likely have copies on file. Reach out to them and request duplicate copies for the relevant years. Tax preparers often retain clients’ records for several years.

  1. Check with Financial Institutions

If you received tax refunds or made tax payments electronically, check with your bank or financial institutions. They may have transaction records that can serve as proof of tax filings.

  1. Request Copies from Your Employer

If you were employed during the years in question, your employer should have copies of your W-2 forms, which provide essential income information for tax returns. Contact your former employer to inquire about obtaining these documents.

  1. Utilize Tax Software or Online Services

If you used tax software or online services to file your taxes, log in to your account to access copies of your returns. Many platforms store past returns, making retrieval easier.

  1. Consider Obtaining a Subpoena

As a last resort, if all other attempts fail, consult your attorney about obtaining a subpoena. This legal document compels relevant parties, such as the IRS or your tax preparer, to provide copies of your tax returns.

  1. File for an Extension if Necessary

If the divorce proceedings cannot wait for the tax returns to be located, discuss the situation with your attorney and consider filing for an extension with the court. This extension will grant you additional time to gather the necessary financial documents.

  1. Inform Your Attorney and the Court

Transparency is key during a divorce. If you encounter challenges in locating your tax returns, inform your attorney and the court promptly. They can advise you on the best course of action and ensure the process remains compliant with Minnesota family law.


Losing tax returns during a divorce can be unnerving, but it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Take proactive steps to recover the documents, such as requesting copies from the IRS, consulting your tax preparer, or checking with financial institutions. If necessary, consider obtaining a subpoena as a last resort. Remember, communication with your attorney and the court is essential, as they can guide you through the process and ensure that your divorce proceedings continue without unnecessary delays. With diligence and professional assistance, you can navigate this challenge and move forward with confidence towards a fair and amicable resolution.