I’m hearing from clients who need tax return transcripts for loans and student financial aid. I guess that some lenders and schools have realized that a tax return can be faked up with tax prep software and want something from the IRS. A tax return transcript is not a copy of the taxpayer’s tax return. It’s an IRS list of what is on the return you originally filed. (You can get a copy of the return but it will take a while and there is a serious fee involved.)
There are 5 ways to get a tax return transcript from the IRS. All will require the taxpayer’s Social Security Number, Date of Birth, street address and the zip code. The street address the IRS wants is what they have on file. That is generally what was on the last return filed unless you have filed a change of address with the service. If you filed a joint return, you will want to use the SSN and date of birth for the first person listed on the return.
- Online – You can request a transcript from the IRS website. It will be sent to you at the address they have on file for you. In what I was able to access, there was no way to tell the IRS which year you were wanting.
- By Phone - 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts to enter the info they request. Again, the transcript will be sent to you.
- IRS2Go – This smart phone app allows you to request a tax return or tax account transcript to be sent to your address on file. It does let you specify which year you want sent.
- Form 4506T-(EZ) – There are actually 2 forms you can use, the 4506T and the EZ version. Each will let you order a transcript for the current year and the previous 3 years. The 4506T(EZ) can mailed or faxed to the IRS. This form also allows you to authorize the IRS to send the transcript to a third party like a mortgage company or have the transcript mailed to you.
- Tax Pro – With a Power of Attorney, Form 2848, a tax pro can request the transcript for you. This might be the fastest option if e-Services can be used to process the Form 2848.
To be honest, I’ve never gotten the IRS2Go to work for me but I know people who have used it. And the online program didn’t like my address even though it was the same as on the last return I filed. But it might be having a problem since I have an extension and haven’t filed a 2011 return yet.
With all the tax return fraud, I think we will be seeing more requests for tax return transcripts. It’s good that the IRS is giving taxpayers a number of options to get the info. Hopefully, they will work out ways to take late returns and address changes into consideration. And, maybe they can come up with a way to get the transcript other than by mail or through a tax pro.