What are tax transcripts and how can you get them?
Types of Transcripts
There are five types of tax transcripts that are available from the IRS.
Tax return transcript – a tax return transcript shows line items from the original tax return plus any schedules and forms. A return transcript is usually sufficient for mortgage and student loan applications. It’s usually only available for the current year and preceding three tax years.
Tax account transcript – an account transcript shows data such as tax return type, marital status, AGI, taxable income, and any payments made. It will also show any adjustments that were made to the account, such as audit adjustments or penalties and interest. If you have tax debt, it will also show how much you currently owe.
Record of account transcript – a record of account transcript is a combination of both the tax return and tax account transcripts. It’s usually only available for the current year and preceding three tax years.
Wage and income transcripts – a wage and income transcript shows data from information returns such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498. Current year information may not be completely available until July.
Verification of non-filing letter – this letter provides proof that the IRS does not have record of you filing a Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ for the tax periods requested. It does not however say if you were required to file a tax return. For some types of applications, if you did not file a tax return, you might be required to obtain a verification of non-filing letter from the IRS. If you request this in combination with the wage and income transcripts, you can show that you did not have a filing requirement and did not file a tax return for the years in question. You need a verification of non-filing letter for FAFSA and financial aid.
Note that a tax transcript is not a photocopy of your tax return. If you require a photocopy of the return, you must complete and mail Form 4506 along with the applicable fee.
How to Request a Transcript
You can request a transcript three ways:
You can make an online request for a transcript using the Get Transcript tool.
To order using the Get Transcript tool on the IRS, you must have a Social Security number (SSN) to register, along with the following information to verify your identity:
- your SSN, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from latest tax return,
- access to your email account,
- your credit card number or account number from an auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or home equity line of credit, and
- a mobile phone with your name on the account.
To request online:
- Visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript
- Click on’ Get Transcript Online’
- Log into your account or create an account
- Select the type of tax period and year(s) you need
Tip: If you’re getting transcripts for yourself, you don’t need to enter a ‘customer file number.’
To receive your transcripts by mail, you can either make the request online or by phone.
For an online request you will need:
- an SSN or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN),
- your date of birth, and
- the mailing address from your latest tax return
To make an online request, visit https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
You can also request your transcripts by calling the automated request line at 1-800-908-9946
Once you have ordered your transcripts they will arrive in 5 to 10 calendar days at the address the IRS has on file for you.
You can also visit your local IRS office and request your transcripts in person. You will need to make an appointment prior to your visit. Be sure to bring a valid photo identification.