How To: Get an IRS Transcript or a Copy of Your Tax Return
February 21, 2020 in IRS Info, Tax Info
An IRS transcript offers an easy way to see an overview of your tax return information. Having an IRS transcript can be useful in many situations, such as when you’re applying for a loan, a mortgage, or financial aid. If you need a copy of your past tax return information, read on to learn about the 5 types of IRS transcripts, how you can get an IRS transcript, and how you can get an exact copy of your tax return if a transcript won’t suffice. If you have unfiled tax returns and are unsure of the depth of your situation, read our informative blog post on tax evasion here.
The 5 Types of IRS Transcripts
Before you request an IRS transcript, you need to know which type of transcript you would like. There are five types of IRS transcripts, each of which shows different information:
1. Tax Return Transcript: A Tax Return Transcript will show most line items from your original tax return form, including your adjusted gross income (AGI). This type of transcript is often used for mortgage applications and student loan applications. This transcript is available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. Note that this type of transcript will not show any changes you made after filing your original return(s).
2. Tax Account Transcript: This type of transcript shows a variety of basic information related to your tax return, such as your return type, marital status, AGI, taxable income, and payment types. It also shows a record of changes made to original returns. This transcript is available for the current tax year and the prior 10 tax years.
3. Record of Account Transcript: A Record of Account Transcript essentially combines the information shown on the Tax Return Transcript and the Tax Account Transcript into one document. This transcript is available for the current tax year and the prior three tax years.
4. Wage and Income Transcript: This type of transcript shows tax return information related to wage and income, such as the information from your Form W-2 or your 1099(s). This form also contains IRA Contribution Information. This transcript is available for the current tax year and the prior 10 years.
5. Verification of Non-Filing Letter: A Verification of Non-Filing Letter shows proof that you did not file a Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ for your requested year. Note that this transcript only shows that you did not file, not that you were not required to file. This transcript is available after June 15 for the current tax year and available anytime for the prior three tax years.
How to Get an IRS Transcript
Getting an IRS transcript is simple and always free, no matter which type of transcript you request. There are three ways you can request an IRS transcript, which we’ll outline below.
Request an IRS Transcript Online
You can register and use the IRS’s Get Transcript Online function to request any type of IRS transcript. Once you’ve registered and authenticated your identity, you can view your transcript on your computer.
You can also request that the IRS mail you a copy of either a Record of Account Transcript or a Tax Return Transcript through their online Get Transcript by Mail function. Note that other types of transcripts can not be mailed through a Get Transcript by Mail online request.
Request an IRS Transcript by Mail
You can request any type of IRS transcript by mail if you mail them a copy of a filled out IRS Form 4506-T or IRS Form 4506-T-EZ.
Request an IRS Transcript by Phone
You can request that the IRS mail you a copy of either a Record of Account Transcript or a Tax Return Transcript by calling the IRS on the phone. Note that, like with the online mail request, other types of transcripts cannot be mailed through a phone request.
How To Get a Copy of Your Full Tax Return
Often, a tax transcript will contain all the information a person needs from their past tax return. However, if you need an exact copy of a past tax return, there are a few ways you can obtain one. If you use a tax preparer, you can ask them if they have a copy of your past return. If you use tax software, you can check to see if a copy of your past return is available through the software. Then, you can also request an exact copy of a tax return from the IRS for a $50 fee per tax return. The IRS can usually provide a copy of tax returns from the current year and the six tax years prior. To request a copy of a tax return from the IRS, you can fill out Form 4506 and mail it to the address on the form.