How to Request a Tax Transcript?

A tax transcript is a free summary of your federal income tax return that includes your adjusted gross income (AGI) and other financial information a lender would need in order to confirm your income. The primary situation where people use a tax transcript is to prove their income to lenders. Transcripts are most often used to validate past income and to help with tax preparation.

Which tax transcript do you need?

There are five different kinds of transcripts you can request. Here are the basic descriptions from the IRS.

  • Tax Return Transcripts show most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. This transcript does not reflect any changes you, your representative or the IRS made after you filed your return.
  • Tax Account Transcripts provide any adjustments either you or the IRS made after you filed your return. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income
  • Record of Account Transcripts combine the information from tax account and tax return transcripts.
  • Wage and Income Transcripts show data from information returns, such as W-2s, 1099s and 1098s, reported to the IRS. Most recent year information may not be complete until July.
  • Verification of nonfiling letter is proof from the IRS that you did not file a return this year. A taxpayer may fail to file a tax return even though he/she has a filing requirement. This letter does not address whether or not you should have filed a tax return. Current year requests are only available after June 15.


It’s easy to request a transcript or copy of your prior year tax return 

You should always keep a copy of your tax return for at least three years. You may need it for many reasons, such as preparing future tax returns or amending a prior year’s return. If you need a copy of your tax return but don’t have it, first check with your software provider or tax preparer. Otherwise, you can get one for the current tax year and as far back as six years from the IRS. It takes approximately 75 days to process a request for a copy of a filed tax return and the fee per copy is $50. 

However, if all you need is a tax transcript, you get one from the IRS for free. A tax transcript summarizes return information and includes adjusted gross income (AGI). In most cases, a transcript has all the tax information you need. 

For example, when applying for home mortgages or college financial aid, transcripts are often necessary. Mortgage companies normally arrange to get one for a homeowner or potential homeowner. If you’re applying for college financial aid, see IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications IRS.gov for the latest options. 

How to Get a Transcript: 

Online: The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to use the Get Transcript application. Once you verify your identity, you will be able to view and print your transcript immediately online. This Fact Sheet provides details on how to complete this step. 

By Mail: If you're unable or prefer not to use Get Transcript Online, you may order a tax return transcript or a tax account transcript by mail: 

o using the online tool Get Transcript by Mail;
o calling 800-908-9946; or
o completing and sending either Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ to the IRS. 

You can also use Form 4506-T to request other tax records: tax account transcript, record of account, wage and income and verification of non-filing. These forms are available on the Forms & Pubs page on IRS.gov. 

Transcripts arrive at the address we have on file for you within 10 calendar days from the time IRS receives your request.