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Getting a Transcript

Tax transcripts are often used to validate your income and tax filing status for mortgage applications, student loans, and small business loan applications. They can also be useful when you’re getting ready to prepare and file your tax return.

Common Issues

There are several different kinds of tax transcripts:

Tax Return

Tax Return transcript is the one most people need. It shows most items from your return (income, deductions, etc.) as you originally filed it.

Tax Account

If you or the IRS adjusted your tax return after filing, a Tax Account transcript includes these changes.

Record of Account

If you need the information from both the Tax Return and Tax Account transcripts, then get a Record of Account.

Wage and Income

Wage and Income transcripts show the information from documents the IRS receives from people who have either paid you income (like wages) or received money from you (like mortgage interest). For example: IRS Forms W-2, 1099, and 1098.

Verification of Non-filing Letter

Verification of Non-filing Letter can serve as proof that you didn’t file a return this year.

You can request a transcript online, by phone, or by mail.

IRS.gov – Get a Transcript 

There is no fee for transcripts.



What should I do?

Make sure you’ve filed your tax returns and the IRS has processed them before requesting a transcript. The IRS can’t provide certain transcripts if the IRS hasn’t processed your tax return.

If you filed your tax return electronically, it will be about three weeks before the tax transcript is available.

If you mailed your tax return to the IRS, it will take approximately six weeks.

[NOTE: If you didn’t pay all the taxes you owe, your return and your transcript may not be available until mid-May, or a week after you pay the full amount owed.]

Some notes on privacy:

When you request a transcript online or by phone, the IRS must verify that you’re the taxpayer or are authorized to receive this information. For example: You have a valid power of attorney filed with the IRS for the relevant tax period.

You can ask the IRS to send a transcript to you or to a third party. For example: a lender. Once the IRS sends your tax information to a third party, it has no control over what the third party does with it. If you’d like to limit how the third party uses your information, you can specify this in a written agreement with the third party.

Requesting a Transcript Online

The IRS has an online system for getting a transcript:

Get Transcript on IRS.gov.

To register and use this service, you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, filing status and mailing address from the latest tax return;
  • Access to your email account;
  • Your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan; and
  • A mobile phone account in your name.

Upon successful registration, you will be given the option to use Get Transcript Online tool. The system will ask you the reason you need a transcript to help determine which type of transcript might be best.

Currently you can get copies of your transcripts mailed to you at the address the IRS has on record for you.

The system will ask for personal information and then ask you to indicate which type of transcript you want.

Requesting a Transcript by Phone 

The IRS has a toll-free line for requesting transcripts. Call 800-908-9946. This line is only for transcripts and will walk you through the steps. You can request up to ten transcripts per call.

Requesting a Transcript by Mail

To request a free transcript, complete Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS at the address provided on the form.

Requesting Copies of Other Forms

To obtain copies of IRS Forms W-2 or 1099 you filed with your tax return, first contact the employer who issued it. If you still need a copy from the IRS, complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS with the fee listed on the form, currently $50.00 for each requested return.

Remember: If you only need the information from your tax return or information return and don’t need an actual copy of the tax return, you can request a Tax Return Transcript or Wage and Investment Transcript instead, which are free. For example: Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement.

A note about FAFSA

If you’re looking for tax information to help you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you may not need a transcript. The IRS Data Retrieval tool works from within your FAFSA application to import your financial information directly from the IRS to your application. You can use this tool when you get to the Financial Information part of the application.


How will this affect me?

Requesting a transcript online or by phone will get you the documents you need from the IRS quickly and efficiently. However, some taxpayers can’t request a Transcript from IRS.gov or on the phone. These include:

  • Taxpayers who can’t answer the e-authentication questions;
  • Victims of identity theft;
  • Taxpayers filing returns for the first time; and
  • Those with no internet access or email address.

Alternatives to Transcripts

If for some reason you can’t get a transcript, home mortgage lenders may accept other documents. Some examples include:

  • Copies of returns filed with a state or local government taxing authority;
  • Forms W-2 or similar IRS forms used for reporting wages or tax withholding;
  • Payroll statements, including military leave and earnings statements;
  • Financial institution (bank) records;
  • Records from your employer or a third party that obtained information from the employer;
  • Records from a federal, state, or local government agency stating your income from benefits or entitlements;
  • Receipts from check cashing services; and
  • Receipts from a funds transfer service.

Wait, I still need help.

Browse common tax issues and situations at Get Help.

If your IRS problem is causing you financial hardship, you’ve tried repeatedly and aren’t receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights aren’t being respected, consider contacting Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

You may be eligible for representation from an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent (EA) associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs may also provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language.


Transcripts Types and Ways to Order Them

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Transcript Frequently Asked Questions