The IRS Enhances “Get Transcript” Security Online Service

The IRS Enhances “Get Transcript” Security Online Service

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The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has reintroduced its online transcript service to taxpayers after it was disabled in 2015. The IRS suspended this service due to data breach concerns, but has worked diligently with top digital experts at the U.S. Digital Service and other security authorities to create a two-step authentication process. The result is a more rigorous authentication method designed to prevent identity theft and protect taxpayer information.

What is a Transcript?

A transcript is a summary of basic taxpayer data. Taxpayers who cannot locate their records or whose records have been destroyed can obtain a copy of a particular document by requesting a transcript.

The following are types of transcripts that the IRS offers at no charge:

  • Tax Return Transcript: Includes most line items from a previously filed original Federal Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Please note that this transcript does not include changes made after the original filing of the return. This transcript generally satisfies lending institution requirements.
  • Tax Account Transcript: Provides basic taxpayer data including return type, marital status, adjusted gross income and all payments made on the account. In addition, this transcript includes changes made after the original filing of the return.
  • Record of Account Transcript: Is a combination of the tax return and tax account transcripts outlined above.
  • Wage and Income Transcript: Includes information from Federal Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. Please note that information reported on this transcript may not be available until July after the tax year.
  • Verification of Non-Filing Letter: Will show proof that the IRS does not have a record of a filing of a Form 1040.

How to Obtain a Transcript Online

A taxpayer can access a transcript online by registering with the online service available on the IRS’ website. According to the IRS website, the following information is needed in order to complete the registration process:

  • Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number;
  • Date of birth, filing status and mailing address from your latest tax return filed;
  • An e-mail address that is readily available;
  • Financial account information such as a credit card number or account number from an auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or home equity line of credit; and
  • A mobile phone that accepts text messages, readily available with your name on the account.

It is important to note that the IRS will never request login information or initiate contact via text message. A mobile phone is needed for verification purposes only.

First-time users must first submit their name and e-mail address to receive a confirmation code via e-mail. After entering the code received, taxpayers then proceed by entering their name, Social Security number, date of birth, filing status and address from their latest tax return filed. In addition, taxpayers will be required to provide certain financial account information. Following this step, taxpayers are prompted to enter a mobile phone number to receive a six digit activation code via text message. After activating the code taxpayers create a username and password, site phrase and select a site image.

In the event the taxpayer has an existing account, but has not completed the new secure process, they will be required to log in and provide the information indicated above. Once the account is set up, taxpayers can log in, receive a security code via text and enter the code for secure access.

Taxpayers that are not able to verify their identity, do not have access to a mobile phone or prefer more conventional methods, transcripts by mail will continue to be available by using the IRS existing service “Get Transcript by Mail”. Under this service, transcripts can be requested via telephone or online and will be sent to the taxpayer address of record within five to ten business days. It is important to note that a transcript is not a copy of a previously filed tax return. If a tax return copy is needed, a taxpayer can request a copy by submitting Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax return, along with the appropriate fee.


With the upcoming filing season and in an era where almost anything can be accessed online, government agencies as well as private companies are finding difficulty in keeping customer information safe. Thus, the IRS is committed to continue working with different agencies to fight security breaches and prevent unauthorized access of taxpayers’ records. The IRS is currently working on developing new safety measures for the coming tax year.

Ask Our Experts

Please contact a member of Withum’s Healthcare Services Group at [email protected] for further questions or assistance.

The information contained herein is not necessarily all inclusive, does not constitute legal or any other advice, and should not be relied upon without first consulting with appropriate qualified professionals for your individual facts and circumstances.

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