Do you need information from a tax return you filed 3 years ago? Don’t worry, you can get this information by requesting a tax transcript from the IRS. Keep on reading and find out how to do it.
What is an IRS Tax Transcript?
An IRS tax transcript is a quick summary of your past tax returns. Depending on the type of transcript you request, it can show your complete financial and tax-related information.
Please note that a transcript isn’t a photocopy of your return. If you need a copy of your original return, you must submit Form 4506 (Request for Copy of Tax Return) along with the applicable fee.
Types of Transcripts
There are five types of transcripts you can request from the IRS:
- Tax Return Transcript: this provides most line items from your original tax return, including your AGI. It can be requested for the current tax year and the previous three tax years.
- Tax Account Transcript: it shows basic data such as return type, marital status, AGI, taxable income and all payments made. You can request this transcript for the current tax year and up to the prior 10 years via online or with Form 4506-T. If you request this transcript by mail or phone, you’re limited to the current tax year and returns processed during the prior 3 years.
- Record of Account Transcript: this type of transcript combines the tax return and tax account transcripts into one complete transcript. It is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior 3 years.
- Wages and Income Transcript: it shows data from information returns such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498. You can request it for up to 10 prior years.
- Verification of Non-Filing Letter: it shows proof that the IRS has not received a Form 1040 from you for the tax periods requested. You can request this letter for the current tax year and up to 3 prior years.
How do I get my Tax Transcript?
There are three main ways to request your tax transcript from the IRS.
Request tax transcript online
This is the fastest way to request your IRS transcript. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Go to the Get Transcript tool on the IRS website.
- Scroll down to the “Request Online” section and click on “Get Transcript Online”.
- Log into your account or register for the service.
- Finally select the type of tax period and the year(s) you need.
Request IRS transcript by mail
When a tax transcript is requested by mail, it usually arrives within 5 to 10 calendar days. If you want to request your transcript this way, these are the steps you need to follow:
- Go to the Get Transcript tool used for requesting a transcript online.
- Scroll down and click the “Get Transcript by Mail” button.
- You’ll need to provide your SSN or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN), birth date, street address and postal code.
- The IRS transcript will arrive at the address the system has on file for you. If you have moved, you will need to change your address with the IRS before requesting the tax transcript.
Request transcript in person
If you prefer, you can also visit your local IRS office to request your tax transcript face-to-face. You can find your nearest IRS office by clicking on “IRS Office location” at the top of the page.
Remember to first call your local office to make an appointment.