March 24, 2022

How to Get Your IRS Tax Transcript Online Immediately

Doug Breaker


How You Can Get Your IRS Transcript Immediately

Do you need your IRS Tax Transcript, but can't find past W2's, 1099's or other tax records?  Don't worry, the IRS gives three very helpful ways to get your Tax Transcript.

Why would a person need his/her tax transcript?  Some reasons include:

  • To prove he/she lived at a prior address. This is a common required when claiming Unclaimed Money and Unclaimed Property  For example, the State of California lists these tax records as proof of address, although any official tax transcript should work:
    • IRS Form W-2, statement of wages earned
    • IRS Form 1098, statement of interest paid
    • IRS Form 1099-INT or 1099-DIV, statement of interest or dividends earned
  • Proved income history to an employer or other party
  • To help prepare accurate tax returns
  • Help resolve many tax notices and other tax issues
  • Check to see if he/she is under audit

What are the three methods?

Method 1: Getting Your IRS Tax Transcript Online

Getting your IRS Tax Transcript online is actually very quick and easy.  Follow the steps below to get yours.

  • Go the the IRS "Get Your Tax Record" page
  • If you don't have an IRS ID.ME account, you'll need to create one.  You'll need your drivers license, passport or other government ID to verify who you are.
  • Click on the "Get Transcript Online" button:
Click the "Get Transcript Online" Button
Click the "Get Transcript Online" Button
  • When you get to the "Get Transcript" page, choose the reason you need a transcript ("other" is fine), and leave the Customer File Number blank.
The Get Transcript page
  • On the next screen you'll see 4 types of transcripts to download, they are:
    • Return Transcript: 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. In many cases, a Return Transcript will meet the requirements of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans.
    • Record of Account Transcript: Record of Account Transcripts combine the information from tax account and tax return transcripts.
    • Account Transcript: Tax Account Transcripts provide any adjustments either you or we made after you filed your return. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.
    • Wage & Income Transcript: 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.
  • To download, just click on the link of the transcript you're interested in and it will download a PDF.

Method 2: Getting Your IRS Tax Transcript Over The Phone (They'll Mail It To You)

Another method to get your IRS Tax Transcript is to call the IRS' automated phone transcript service at 800-908-9946. They will ask for a bunch of information and then mail you your transcript. 

Method 3: Getting Your IRS Tax Transcript By Mail 

If you would like to get your IRS Tax Transcript by mail go to the IRS Transcript page and click the "Get Transcript by Mail" button.  

get irs transcript by mail
Click the "Get Transcript by Mail" button

This will walk you through a series of forms that will ask you to provide your:

  • social security number
  • date of birth
  • address
  • what type of transcript you want - account or return
  • the tax of the transcript you want

After completing the forms you should see a thank you screen like this.  Your transcript should hit your mailbox in 5-10 days.

The thank you screen

Can You Use Your Transcript For Proof of Address For Unclaimed Property Records?

Unfortunately the IRS updated the format of their tax transcripts to cut off your name and address.  Specifically they limit the information to the following:

First four characters of first name and first four characters of the last name for any individual (first three characters if the name has only four letters)
First four characters of any name on the business name line (first three characters if the name has only four letters)
First six characters of the street address, including spaces

However, that may be enough for some state agencies to conclude you did live at a particular address, if you can provide other documentation that shows your name with that address.

Other Free Methods To Prove You Lived At A Past Address

A number of other methods exist to prove you lived at a past address.  They include:

  • Downloading your tax returns from online filing systems like TurboTax
  • Getting an old tax statement or account statement from your bank (e.g. Chase) or investment company (e.g. ETrade).
  • Downloading an old utility bill
  • Getting a property tax bill, or mortgage statement

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