Maintaining records of your tax filings for a minimum of three years is advised. But if you inadvertently discard this documentation earlier than required, don’t fret; you can seek a free tax transcript from the IRS. While the tax transcript might not appear identical to your original tax return, it can be utilized when seeking a mortgage or university financial aid.
Tax transcripts come in various forms, and the quickest method to acquire one is by setting up an account on the IRS website. An online account facilitates immediate access and download of your tax transcripts, as per Alton Bell II, an enrolled agent, founder, and chief accountant at Bell Tax Accountants & Advisors in Chicago.
Different Types of IRS Transcripts and How to Order Them
You have multiple options to order your IRS transcripts. You can request them via the IRS Get Transcript tool, facilitating viewing, printing, or downloading of various transcripts online in one location. The IRS provides transcripts free of charge. Your transcript may showcase tax-related information such as your tax filing history or account balance.
- A tax return transcript displays your initial Form 1040 tax return as submitted, including any forms or schedules added. If you submitted an amended return, the revisions won’t be evident on the transcript for your original tax return.
- A tax account transcript presents basic details like your filing status, taxable income, and payment methods. This transcript does indicate any amendments made after your initial return was filed.
- A record of account transcript merges your tax return transcript and tax account transcript into one comprehensive version.
- A wage and income transcript reveals data from your Form W-2, any 1099s, or other tax-related documents you obtained. The transcript is confined to 85 of these “information returns,” or forms. If your documents exceed 85, the transcript will not be produced.
- A verification of non-filing letter delivers information regarding your tax return filing for the specific year. This transcript is accessible for the current tax year post June 15, or anytime for the previous three tax years.
Steps to Verify Your Identity and Obtain Copies of Your Tax Return from the IRS
Before utilizing the tool, you will have to register and confirm your identity by submitting a selfie and your government ID to the IRS. Alternatively, you can choose to validate your identity through a direct call with a representative. If you encounter issues registering online, you can apply for your transcripts via mail by submitting IRS Form 4506-T, “Request for Transcript,” or via phone at 800-908-9946. Receiving your transcripts could take up to 10 calendar days from the request date. If you require a duplicate of your initial tax return, apply to the IRS using Form 4506, “Request for Copy of Tax Return.
However, brace yourself to part with some money. Although the IRS doesn’t charge for tax transcripts, duplicates of your initial tax filings come at $43 per tax year. You have to post Form 4506 to the IRS, adhering to the form’s guidelines. In certain scenarios, applying for a copy of your original tax return might be beneficial, despite the cost.
The tax transcript is more accessible, but it can be challenging to comprehend for the untrained eye,” Bell from Bell Tax Accountants & Advisors remarks. “The original tax return offers more specifics.
If you need a duplicate of one of your original returns, practice patience. The IRS estimates the process could take up to 75 calendar days.