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Accounting and Tax Tips Blog

Tax season proves to be a busy time of year for many people. As you are gathering your important financial information, it may also be a good idea to obtain a copy of your previous years tax transcript. 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. 

What Is A Tax Transcript?

A tax return is comprised of a 1040 and any supporting schedules. It demonstrates your income, expenses, investments, and other important tax information. A tax transcript is the abbreviated version of your tax return and includes your AGI (adjusted gross income). It is available from the IRS database after your taxes have been filed. There are several different types of transcripts available from the IRS website:

  • Tax Return Transcripts – This contains most of the information from your 1040 as it was originally filed. It does not contain any adjustments made by the IRS or your representative. Previous years tax transcripts are available from the IRS for 3 years. 
  • Account Transcripts – This transcript provides any adjustments made by you or the IRS after you filed. They include: marital status, type of return filed, AGI, and taxable income.
  • Record of Account Transcript – This transcript combines the information from the tax account and tax return transcripts. 
  • Wage and Income Transcript – This transcript shows data from information returns like W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s reported to the IRS.

Why Do I Need My IRS Transcript?

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

  • Lenders may require a tax return transcript in order 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 3 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 tax return 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 IRS Tax 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 will need to provide your name, filing status, social security number, and the address you used on your most recent tax return. Once you open your account, you can view tax return from the previous 3 years. 

How To Request Your Account Transcript By Mail

If you prefer to request your tax transcripts the old fashioned way you can do so either by phone or mail. To order a copy of your tax 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 6 years. A $50 fee per copy is assessed. 

When ordering a copy of your transcripts or tax returns, it is important to plan ahead. 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. In addition, a tax advisor can help you with your deductions, possibly saving you money on your taxes. Before meeting with your tax advisor, it is a good idea to get all of your important 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 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.