If you’re trying to file current or past tax returns, or are dealing with back tax problems, you should find out what the IRS knows about you by obtaining your IRS transcripts. The IRS offers five different transcript types that can help you find the version of your tax history that you need. Each type reveals unique information about your past taxes, so you’ll want to know what you’re looking for before making your request. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider consulting a tax professional to help you determine which transcript type you will need.
Note: Unlike copies of your tax returns, IRS transcripts are free of charge. You can request your transcripts online, by phone or by mail. Requesting transcripts online is the fastest way to get them.
Below is a basic breakdown of the five available IRS transcript types:
- The tax account transcript option includes basic information such as your marital status, adjusted gross income, type of return filed, and taxable income. It also includes more detailed data, such as penalties and interest assessed by the IRS, any additional taxes assessed as a result of an audit, estimated tax payments made and a history of any collection activities. You can access up to 10 prior years of your tax history. You can only access up to three prior years if you request by phone or mail.
- The tax return transcript is only available for the current tax year and tax returns processed during the three prior years. It contains most line items from your return as originally filed. This transcript doesn’t reflect any changes made by you or the IRS after filing your return and typically meets the needs of lending institutions.
- The record of account transcript combines the tax return and tax account transcript into one complete transcript. You can request this transcript online or by using Form 4506-T. It is available for the current tax year and the prior three years.
- Wage and income transcripts show data from your Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, K-1s and 5498s. Just like the tax account transcript, these transcripts can access up to 10 prior years of your tax history using Form 4506-T or requesting online. This transcript is often used by taxpayers that no longer have income and expense information needed to prepare back tax returns. Note: Your most recent full year may not be completed until July of the following year.
- The verification of non-filing letter provides proof that the IRS has no record of any tax return filed for the year you requested. It only provides proof of non-filing and doesn’t determine if you were required to file a tax return (for the year you requested). This transcript can be requested for the current tax year and up to the 10 previous years using Form 4506-T, but if requested by mail or phone, only up to three previous years can be provided. It is available after June 15 of the current tax year.
Whether you need to resolve tax debt or file past due tax returns, you should start by obtaining your IRS transcripts. This provides you the information to help devise a strategy to put an end to back tax problems or prepare unfiled tax returns. The tax resolution specialists at East Coast Tax Consulting Group can help you get back on track by requesting the right transcript from the IRS.