IRS Tax Transcript Request Process

IRS Tax Return* Transcript Request Process

Tax filers can request from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) an IRS Tax Return Transcript of their IRS tax return information, free of charge, in one of six ways.

Under all methods, when requesting a transcript, tax filers need to provide their Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, their street address, and ZIP Code as is currently on file with the IRS. Generally, this is the address included on the latest tax return filed with the IRS. However, if an address change was made either with the IRS or with the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file. If this is the case, use the updated address.

Joint Tax Return - When requesting a transcript using one of the four electronic processes described below, use the primary tax filer’s information (e.g., SSN). When requesting a transcript using one of the two paper processes described below, either spouse may submit the request and only one signature is required.

The instructions are not year-specific. Be sure to request the proper year for your financial aid file. (Unless you have been given different instructions for a particular circumstance, 2014 is the tax year to be used for 2015-2016 financial aid files (classes August 2015 through July 2016), and 2013 is the tax year to be used for 2014-2015 financial aid files (classes August 2014 through July 2015).

*The most common IRS document that students need to provide to the Financial Aid department is the IRS Tax Return Transcript (NOT the IRS Tax Account Transcript). However, we do sometimes ask for other IRS documents. They can be accessed through some, but not all, of the same methods outlined below. More information about those other IRS documents appears later in these instructions.

Online Request - Get Transcript ONLINE

  • Available on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov
  • Under the Tools heading on the IRS homepage click "Get Transcript of Your Tax Records"
  • Click "Get Transcript ONLINE"
  • Acknowledge the disclosure pop up box that appears by clicking "OK"
  • The tax filer must sign up to create or reactivate his or her account
  • Follow the prompts to request a transcript

Online Request - Get Transcript by MAIL

  • Available on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov
  • Under the Tools heading on the IRS homepage click "Get Transcript of Your Tax Records"
  • Click "Get Transcript by MAIL"
  • Acknowledge the disclosure pop up box that appears by clicking "OK"
  • Complete the required fields (SSN, DOB etc.) then click "Continue"
  • In the Type of Transcript field, select "Return Transcript" and, in the Tax Year field, select the year you need for your file.
  • Click "Continue"
  • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online request, within 5 to 10 business days from the time the online request was successfully transmitted to the IRS 
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested online cannot be mailed to an address other than the address on file with the IRS

Telephone Request

  • Available from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946
  • To continue in English press 1
  • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security number and the numbers in their street address
  • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript and then enter the year desired
  • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their telephone request within 5 to 10 business days from the time the IRS receives the request
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested by telephone cannot be mailed to an address other than the address on file with the IRS

Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript

  • Download a PDF for the 4506T-EZ at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf
  • Complete lines 1 – 4, following the instructions on page 2 of the form
  • Line 5 provides tax filers with the option to have their IRS Tax Return Transcript mailed directly to a third party by the IRS. Do not list Southwestern Illinois College as a third party. You should have the Tax Return Transcript sent to your address. [After you receive it, make a photocopy. Keep one for yourself, and submit the other one to the Financial Aid department; BE SURE TO WRITE ON EVERY PAGE of the transcript your (the student’s) name and SWIC student ID number.]
  • On line 6, enter the year desired to receive tax information that is required for FAFSA® verification
  • The tax filer must sign and date the form and enter their telephone number. Sign the IRS Form 4506T-EZ exactly as your name appeared on the original tax return. If you changed your name prior to submitting your tax return, also sign your current name
  • Mail or fax the completed IRS Form 4506T-EZ to the appropriate address (or FAX number) provided on page 2 of IRS Form 4506T-EZ
  • Tax filers can expect to receive their IRS Tax Return Transcript within 10 business days from the time the IRS receives and processes their signed request

NOTE: If any information does not match IRS records, the IRS will notify the tax filer that it was not able to provide the transcript.

Additional note: ONLY the Tax Return Transcript can be obtained using the 4506T-EZ. If you require other IRS documents, as well, and you need or choose to use a paper request form, use the IRS Form 4506-T, instead, as all of the IRS documents may be ordered together on that one form.

Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return

  • Download a PDF for the 4506-T at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf
  • Complete lines 1 – 4, following the instructions on page 2 of the form
  • Line 5 provides tax filers with the option to have their IRS Tax Return Transcript or IRS Record of Account mailed directly to a third party by the IRS. Do not list Southwestern Illinois College as a third party. You should have the Tax Return Transcript sent to your address. [After you receive it, make a photocopy. Keep one for yourself, and submit the other one to the Financial Aid department; BE SURE TO WRITE ON EVERY PAGE of the transcript your (the student’s) name and SWIC student ID number.]
  • On line 6, enter the tax form number that is being requested (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.) and then check the appropriate box for the transcript being requested. Only one tax form number can be used per request
  • On line 9, enter the appropriate date in 12/31/20xx format to receive IRS tax information for the tax year that is required for FAFSA® verification. [Enter the date as "12/31/2014" (for a 2014 Tax Return Transcript for your 2015-2016 financial aid file) OR "12/31/2013" (for a 2013 Tax Return Transcript for your 2014-2015 financial aid file), depending on which year you need.]
  • The tax filer must sign and date the form and enter their telephone number. Sign the IRS Form 4506-T exactly as your name appeared on the original tax return. If you changed your name after submitting your tax return, also sign your current name
  • Mail or fax the completed IRS Form 4506-T to the appropriate address (or FAX number) provided on page 2 of the form
  • In most cases, tax filers can expect to receive their IRS transcripts/letters within 10 business days from the time the IRS receives and processes the completed and signed 4506-T request
  • NOTE: If any information does not match IRS records, the IRS will notify the tax filer that it was not able to provide the transcript

Options to select from on the 4506-T:

"6 Transcript requested" (Enter the tax form number here. See instructions on the form. Basically you are letting the IRS know whether this request is for a personal tax return/1040, or some other type, such as a business tax return. Financial aid files are verified with personal return tax transcripts—1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.)

    "6a Return Transcript" -- This is the IRS Tax Return Transcript, which is the most common IRS document we request. Be sure to check box 6a if you are ordering your Tax Return Transcript with this form.

    "6b Account Transcript" – We occasionally do ask for this IRS Tax Account Transcript, but not commonly. Do not request a Tax Account Transcript if what we are asking you for is a Tax Return Transcript, only if you are specifically instructed to submit to us a Tax Account Transcript.

    "6c Record of Account" -- We occasionally ask for this Record of Account in certain instances, but not commonly. (The Record of Account does, however, include the Tax Return Transcript within it, so if you end up with a Record of Account instead of a Tax Return Transcript, we can use that portion of it for verifying the fields we would find on the Tax Return Transcript.)

"7 Verification of Nonfiling" -- We also call this a non-filing status letter, so check box 7 if you are asked for a non-filing status letter.

"8 Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript" –This is most often referred to as an IRS Wage & Income Transcript. Check box 8 if an IRS Wage & Income Transcript is being requested for your financial aid file.

Selections for all of the above IRS documents are also in the "Online Request-Get Transcript ONLINE" method. You will not see an option for the Verification of Nonfiling/non-filing status letter online; instead, select Return Transcript for the appropriate year, and if the IRS does not have record of a tax return being filed for that year, the non-filing status letter will be generated, instead. Please note that we can only accept non-filing status letters dated June 15 or later in the year the tax return was filed—for example, with a 2014 IRS non-filing status letter, it must be dated 6-15-2015 or later to be accepted for your 2015-2016 financial aid file.

The IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested by all six methods outlined in this instruction sheet, and the IRS Tax Account Transcript can be requested by all of the methods except the 4506T-EZ. For any of the other IRS documents, the best methods are either with Get Transcript Online or by filling out the 4506-T and submitting it to the IRS.