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What is an IRS Transcript and How Do I Get One?


An IRS transcript is an overview of your tax return information from previous years. Having one can be useful in various situations, like applying for a mortgage, a loan, or financial aid. If you need copies of your tax return information from previous years, there are five different types of IRS transcripts that you can request. Here, we explain how to request an IRS transcript and, if you need more detailed information, how to attain an exact copy of your tax returns.


What Are the Five Types of IRS Transcripts I Can Request?

If you’re told that you need an IRS transcript, it’s reasonable to assume that you can go online and request one. However, there are five different IRS transcripts. Before beginning your online search, it’s essential to learn which type of IRS transcript meets your needs and whether it’s available to request online.

  1. Tax Return Transcript

If you’re applying for a mortgage or student loan, you may need to request a tax return transcript. This type of IRS transcript is accessible for the current tax year and the ten tax years before. A tax return transcript displays the majority of line items from the original tax return you filed that year, including your adjusted gross income (AGI). If you made adjustments or corrected your tax return after the first submission, those changes will not be reflected on your requested tax return transcript.


2. Tax Account Transcript

Like a tax return transcript, a tax account transcript is accessible for the current tax year and the ten tax years prior. This type of IRS transcript details information associated with your tax return for that year, including:

  • The type of tax return

  • Taxable income

  • Adjusted gross income

  • Marital status

  • Payment types


Unlike a tax return transcript, a tax account transcript includes any adjustments you made on your tax return that year after the original submission.


3. Wage & Income Transcript

This IRS transcript illustrates tax return information related to your regular wages and taxable income for the year shown on your W-2 or 1099(s) form. Wage and income transcripts also include any IRA contributions that you made during the tax year. This IRS transcript can be requested for the current tax year and the ten tax years before.


4. Record of Account Transcript

This type of IRS transcript combines the information on both the tax return transcript and the tax account transcript. A record of account transcript is available for a shorter duration at only the current tax year and the three tax years prior.


5. Verification of Non-Filing Letter

If you need proof that you did not file a tax return, you’ll request a verification of non-filing letter from the IRS. Note that this transcript does not excuse a taxpayer from neglecting to file their tax return. Instead, it’s proof demonstrating they still need to file a tax return. A verification of non-filing letter is available for the current tax year after June 15 and the three tax years prior.


How Do I Request an IRS Transcript?

There’s no cost to request an IRS transcript. No matter which one you need, you can request an IRS transcript through one of the following ways:

  • Online: If you register and use the IRS’s Get Transcript Online feature to request your transcript, you can request either a record of account transcript or a tax return transcript be mailed to your address. The other two transcripts are not available to request online.

  • By Phone: Like an online mail request, you can only request a record of account transcript or a tax return transcript when you call the IRS by phone.

  • By Mail: If you fill out an IRS Form 4506-T or IRS Form 4506T-EZ, you can request any of the five IRS transcripts be mailed to you.


How Do I Request a Copy of My Complete Tax Return?

In most cases, an IRS transcript sufficiently contains all the tax information most individuals need. However, some situations call for a replica of your tax returns. If this is the case, first check with the tax preparer you worked with to see if they’ve retained a copy of your tax return for their records. If you used a tax return software, there might be a copy stored there. Otherwise, you can always request a copy from the IRS for a $50 fee.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Orange, California’s Trusted Tax Debt Attorney

If you have concerns regarding tax debt with the IRS, contact Morgan Sebastian Law, PC in Orange, California, for experienced legal tax advice. Attorney Becky Rose Sebastian has extensive experience with both state and federal tax agencies. To schedule a free consultation and speak with a tax lawyer, call (877) 223-6605 today or complete our contact form.


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