How To Get A Tax Return Transcript In 10 Minutes

Tax season proves to be a busy time of year for many people. Obtaining a copy of your tax return transcript can help you easily gather your essential tax info. It is also a best practice to confirm that the information received by the IRS aligns with the forms you’ve received from employers and clients by checking for your Wage and Income Transcript (see below).

As you are preparing to meet with your tax advisor, getting your information in order ahead of time can save a lot of time and ensure that your taxes are prepared accurately. Here is how you can go about getting a copy of your tax return transcript and why you might need it. 

There are several types of tax transcripts. Shared Economy Tax has another blog post that covers all the different options. Learn more by reading our complete tax transcript guide

Why Do I Need an IRS Transcript?

There are several reasons why you might need a copy of your tax transcript:

  • Lenders may require a tax transcript to secure a mortgage.
  • Students may need to supply a tax return transcript when they are applying for financial aid.
  • To e-file taxes, you need your previous year’s AGI.

Ideally, you should keep a copy of your tax returns for three years since the IRS can go back to audit any of those years. However, if you are unable to locate your tax returns, you can obtain a transcript from the IRS. 

What Does A Tax Return Transcript Look Like?

A tax return transcript summarizes the information from your tax return. It summarizes most of the information filed within your 1040. Here is an example of what a tax return transcript looks like:

IRS Tax Transcirpts
A Tax Return Transcript is a simple text version of the tax return you filed.

How To Get Your Transcript In 10 Minutes

The easiest and quickest way to get a copy of your IRS tax transcript is online. To get your tax transcript online, you first have to create an account online. To create an account, you need to provide your name, filing status, social security number, and address. Once you open your account, you can view tax return transcripts from the previous three years. 

How To Request Your Transcript By Mail

If you prefer to request your tax return transcript the old fashioned way, you can do so either by phone or mail, to order a copy of your transcripts by phone, call 800-908-9946. To request your tax transcripts by mail, you will need to submit form 4506-T or 4506 T-EZ. You can find these forms on the IRS website under forms, instructions, and publications. You can also request a copy of your full tax return by submitting a 4506. Tax returns are available for the previous six years. A $50 fee per copy is assessed. 

When ordering a copy of your transcripts or tax returns, having a plan is crucial. If you order your transcript online or via phone, it typically takes 5-10 about 15 days to arrive. It can take as long as 30 days to receive a transcript with a mailed request. Full tax returns take longer. If you order a copy of your full tax return, the turnaround time is 75 days.  

Get Help With Your Income Taxes Now

It is never too early to start planning for your taxes. Working with a tax advisor can help ensure that your taxes are filed correctly and on time. A tax advisor can also help you find hidden deductions that could save you money. Before meeting with your tax advisor, it is a good idea to get all of your critical financial documents ready. This includes W-2s, 1099’s, financial reports (Profit and Loss Statements), list of expenses, and previous year’s tax returns or tax transcript. 

Need help with your income taxes? Working with a tax advisor can help you save time and money on your taxes. Schedule a tax strategy session with one of the tax experts at Shared Economy today. For more information on tax return transcripts and other tax tips, subscribe to our newsletter using the form below. 


About the Author

Miguel Alexander Centeno

Miguel Alexander Centeno is an author, speaker, and tax leader at Shared Economy Tax. A former Big 4 tax manager, he represents taxpayers in all matters before the IRS, including the U.S. Tax Court. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and MSNBC on tax related articles and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives as a part of hearings for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A father of three, Miguel is an avid acoustic guitar player, gravel cyclist and once-a-week yogi.
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