Filling out tax forms may be tedious, but completing them correctly is a necessary evil. If you have well-kept records, then entering income information should be some of the easiest information for you to report. If not, then you may need to collect documentation to clarify your total income for the year. Thankfully, the IRS keeps track of any employer-submitted income information, such as the W-2, 1099, 1098 and 5498 (IRA), on the IRS Wage and Income Transcript.
Requesting the Transcript
The best way to access your IRS Wage and Income Transcript is on the IRS website. On their home page, click on the heading “File.” This will lead you to the page, “Filing For Individuals,” where you click on “Your Information,” a subheading on the left.
After clicking “Your Information,” you’ll see another heading below it, titled “Tax Record (Transcript).” This last heading will lead you to the “Get Transcript” page on the IRS. Here, you’ll be able to request whether you’d like to receive your transcript online, by mail or by fax.
Accessing Your Transcript Online
On the “Get Transcript” page, you should see a button that says “Get Transcript Online.” It will take you to a login screen, which will require you to set up a new username and password for the IRS unless you already have an account. Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll need to enter your Social Security number, your filing status and mailing address from your most recent tax return, your account number from a credit card or other line of credit, your email address and your mobile number.
This information is then analyzed and used to grant access to your IRS Wage and Income Transcript. The process is relatively quick unless you cannot provide the information according to what the IRS has on file.
Accessing Your Transcript by Mail
If you’re unable to use the “Get Transcript Online” option, you can still request this form to be mailed or faxed to you. The “Get Transcript” page has another button, labeled “Get Transcript by Mail.” If you click on this button, you aren’t required to create a login, but it does request your Social Security number, date of birth and mailing address from your most recent tax return. Unfortunately, this is a much slower method, as it can take from 5 to 10 calendar days for you to receive the form.
If you would rather fill out a physical form, then you can print out the Form 4506-T from the IRS website and fill it out by hand before mailing or faxing it to the IRS. This is the slowest method, but it is still an option available to those who don’t have personal computers or secure internet connections. This form requests the name of you and your spouse and your Social Security numbers, as well as the mailing address and filing status according to your most recent tax return.
Final Considerations for Tax Transcripts
Individuals who are self-employed, own a business or earn income that is not reported on a standard tax form, should be aware that the IRS Wage and Income Transcript may not report your income. If this is the case for you, then be sure to keep clear records of business spending, earnings, assets and profits for each year, and meet with a tax preparer regularly to ensure that your income is correctly submitted on each annual IRS Tax Return.
Your IRS Wage and Income Transcript only reports your gross and net income for the year you specify. If you need access to other information, such as your Adjusted Gross Income or Income Taxes Paid for a previous year, you will need to refer to the tax return you submitted for that specific year. It’s always a good practice to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript in addition to an IRS Wage and Income Transcript if you are reporting past tax information.
- Make your transcript request online or by telephone for faster receipt. Use the automated request system on the “Order a Transcript” page at the IRS website or call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to make your request. You may also visit your local IRS office to submit your request.
- The IRS honors urgent requests when a certified transcript is needed to comply with legal requirements and when the transcript is for use by a Taxpayer Advocate or a court of law.
- The IRS allows requests for wage and income transcripts from taxpayers or authorized agents and from government agencies under certain circumstances. A tax professional who has your power of attorney may use the agency’s online e-services to request the transcript through the Transcript Delivery System.
- The IRS recommends that you contact the Social Security Administration if your need for W-2 information is related to retirement.
Heidi Nickerson graduated from Liberty University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She has previous work experience in Financial Aid as a Grants Processor, where she was responsible for reviewing students' FAFSA information against their tax documentation. Prior to that, she worked with an Enrolled Agent to help families and small businesses submit their annual Federal tax returns.