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How to Get Your Tax Transcript

How to Get Your Tax Transcript

A tax transcript summarizes the information on your taxes that supplies past data on your taxes. Tax transcripts exist in five types, and they contain various line items from your tax return like your filing status, adjusted Gross income, payment, and kind of return. One can request a tax transcript without charge. 

What is on a tax transcript?

On your tax transcript, you will find tax and financial information like wages, taxable income; with your personal and sensitive information partially concealed, for instance, you only get to see the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The information on your tax transcript, however, is a factor of the type of transcript. 

What is a tax transcript useful for?

There are many reasons you might need a tax transcript. A few of these are:

  • Revealing proof of income to lenders

  • Handy in applying for auto loan or mortgage

  • Provides detailed information on tax returns of past years

  • People that file estimated taxes will need their tax transcript to determine what they need to pay later. 

Types of IRS Tax Transcript 

Uncle Sam can issue five different types of tax transcripts. The type you select is a factor of why you need such a tax transcript. 

Type of IRS Transcript


The Years Reflected


Tax Return transcript

Series of line items like AGI from your tax return

Present tax year to the last three years

Suitable for student loan lenders, mortgages, financial aids. It doesn't show changes made after filing the return.

Tax account Transcript 

Data like the type of return, marital status, payment type, and taxable income

Present tax year to ten previous years for online requests. Up to 3 past years for a mail request.

Helps confirm estimated tax payment. Reveals all changes made after filing your tax return. 

Record of account transcript

Combination of tax account transcript and tax return transcript

Present year till the past three years 

Wages and income transcript

Information from IRA contributions, w2, 1099s, and 1098s

Present tax year till the past ten years for online application

Information on the present tax year will be available by July

Letter to verify the non-filing letter

It helps proof that Uncle Sam has no 1040 record for a certain year

Present tax year till the last ten years for online application

Available only after 15th July for the present tax year

How to Get Your IRS Transcript for Free

There are three ways you can request your transcript from Uncle Sam

  1. Getting Your IRS Transcript online

This is probably the fastest way to get your tax transcript. So here's the step to go about it:

  • Visit the IRS website here. 

  • You will have to verify your identity for the transcript to display on the screen.

  • Information like date of birth, last tax return, mailing address, filing status, etc., will be supplied. You need access to your email account and also supply your personal account number from your credit card. 

  1. Getting Your IRS Transcript Via Phone

  • Call Uncle Sam with 800-908-9946

  • This will take an average of seven days, and you will get the transcript in your mail.

  1. Getting Your IRS transcript by mail 

With IRS Form 4506, you can print, fill and send it to Uncle Sam. It will, however, take 30 days to get your tax return. 

Getting an Actual Copy of Your Tax Return 

Do not confuse the IRS transcript as an actual duplicate of your real tax return with the entire forms and attachments you submitted. 

You can only get an actual copy of your old tax return by completing IRS form 4506 and sending it to the IRS. This comes at a charge of $43, except for people resident in a place declared as a federal disaster. Also, the processing takes almost three months. 

Other Ways to Access Your Tax Record 

For people who file their taxes using tax software, you can get your tax software provider's tax records, depending on the provider you used and the program you purchased. Also, people that used a tax professional might still be able to access such records from the tax preparer.