The lots of work option is remembering what went on, and contacting each individual company (employer, investment, bank, etc) for a replacement copy of your tax form for that year. Most of us don’t have perfect memory and are likely to forget something – which is a bad thing for your tax return!
What is a Transcript?
Transcript is magic word with the IRS. It is their word for the electronic copy of your information at the IRS. They have tax return transcripts, and wage and income transcripts (and account transcripts but that doesn’t help here). A tax return transcript can help you get a copy of your return, or help you remember if that year you did even file a tax return. The wage and income transcript will be the data from all your income tax forms (employer, investment, bank, etc).
There are a few ways to obtain the transcripts. You can call the IRS and wait on hold for what feels like forever, and authorize them to send the information in the mail, generally takes 7-10 business days. There is a form you can fill out and mail to them, and get the information in the mail as well, the 4506-T (if you google ‘4506-t’, you can get a copy quite easily https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf ). It is a single page form, fairly easy to fill out. Vital information at the top, tax form number is 1040 for your personal return (line 6), check the box of the type or types of transcripts you want, the years you want them for on the bottom, then sign date and mail off.
Getting Your Transcript Electronically
You can also get your transcript electronically same day. It requires having a login on IRS.GOV – please be sure you are on the .gov website. On the IRS homepage, top right corner there is a search option. If you type the single word ‘transcript’ the first few results are exactly what you need. Click on ‘Get Transcript’ . There will be displayed similar info to what I have included here, but on the left side is the option to get your transcript online. When logged in, it is very clear to see what year and what transcript you want, and it displays immediately (unless your internet is having a coughing fit of course). Word of caution however, while there is a forgot my password option – the steps required to verify who you are will be very extensive (as they should be) so please do not forget your IRS login information.
It is possible for a tax office to request the transcripts for you and get the electronically but our experience is that the process takes weeks, sometimes longer. The taxpayer (you) always has the most power, and you will get the quickest results with the IRS.
Information Requested From The IRS
Information requested from the IRS is social security sensitive; one social cannot obtain information about another social – which includes married couples. If you need transcripts and you are married, you each need to request your own wage and income transcript for that year. You tax return transcript if filed jointly can be retrieved by either of you, as you both have a copy attached to your social.
The IRS electronic copies only go back so many years. 3 years is always available and often up to 7 years is obtainable, however 10 years or more and you are out of luck as far as IRS transcripts are concerned.
Let us know if you have any questions while obtaining any transcripts.
Senior Tax Professional