Created: April 11, 2024|

IRS Form 4506-T: How to Request Tax Transcripts

IRS Form 4506-T

If you've lost your old tax returns, W2s, or other documents, a tax transcript can help you get the details you need. You can also get tax account transcripts which show payments and tax debt balances. Transcripts aren't the same as a copy of the original documents, but they contain the most important financial details from the original document. 

To request a transcript, file Form 4506-T, use the IRS's online service, or contact a tax professional for help. Here's what you need to know.

What Is IRS Form 4506-T?

Form 4506-T is a Request for Transcript of Tax Return. With this form, you can request individual income tax returns and business returns for partnerships and corporations. You can also request transcripts of W-2, 1099, 1098, and 5498 forms. Note that this form allows you to get transcripts, not photocopies of the return.

If you're an individual who just needs a transcript of your 1040 and you use a calendar year to file your tax return, you can request that with Form 4506-T-EZ, which is a short version of the 4506-T. To request a copy of your tax return, use Form 4506. If you need a copy of an exempt or political organization's Form 990 tax return, you should use Form 4506-A to make the request. You can use Form 4506-B to request a copy of the organization's exemption application or letter.

Transcripts Vs. Photocopies

Transcripts contain the most important details from your tax returns. For example, a 1040 transcript shows your taxable income, adjusted gross income, and most other numbers, but it masks your Social Security Number. A W2 transcript shows your income, FICA taxes, and federal income tax withheld, but it also masks sensitive data and doesn't include state tax data.

Photocopies of your tax documents, in contrast, show everything. They are actual copies of the return as filed. Neither photocopies nor transcripts show changes made to the returns after they were filed. They also don't reflect payments made after filing.

As of 2024, the IRS charges $30 per photocopy. There is no charge for transcripts. You can obtain transcripts for the current year and the three prior years. Photocopies are available for seven years. Typically, the IRS processes transcript requests within 10 days, but photocopies take 75 days. For individual and business income tax returns, transcripts are available for the current year and the three previous years. You can get wage and income transcripts for up to 10 years. Photocopies are available for seven years. 

Types of Transcripts and Their Uses

Form 4506-T allows you to request the following IRS transcripts:

  • Tax returns, including Form 1040 series forms for individual income tax returns, Form 1065 partnership returns, and Form 1120 series corporate returns. 
  • Tax account transcripts that show filing status, taxable income, and payment types.
  • Record of account which is a combination of the numbers on your tax return and tax account.
  • Wage and income transcripts, including W2s, 1099s, 10982, and 5498s. 

You can also use Form 4506-T to request a verification of non-filing letter. For example, if a bank or a social services department wants to see your tax return, you can use this letter to prove that you didn't file.

Popular Uses for Tax Transcripts

Individuals and businesses use tax transcripts in the following situations:

  • To prove their income to lenders.
  • To show their income for college financial aid purposes.
  • To gather data to prepare unfiled returns from previous years.
  • This is to get info about their previously filed returns for tax dispute resolution cases.

For instance, if you receive a notice of delinquency and you don't agree with the tax debt shown, you may want to request a tax transcript and a transcript of your account so that you can see what's happening. 

Form 4506-T in Mortgage and Loan Applications

If you're getting a mortgage, a business loan, or a variety of personal loans, the lender generally will want to verify your income by seeing your tax return. Some lenders accept copies of returns from borrowers, but others require a transcript from the IRS so that they can ensure they are seeing the details that were really reported to the IRS. 

Lenders can use Form 4506-T to request a transcript. Alternatively, they can use the IRS Income Verification Express Service (IVES). With this, the lender uses Form 4506-C or the IRS's online service to request your transcript. Then, you consent or dispute the request through your online account or by signing Form 4506-T. Depending on the situation, the lender may request that you fill out Form 8821 to allow them to obtain your tax info.

Other Ways to Get Tax Transcripts

As indicated throughout this post, Form 4506-T isn't the only way to get a tax transcript. You can also request a transcript by doing the following:

  • Use Get Transcript Online
  • Call the IRS's automated phone transcript request service 800-908-9946 and the IRS will mail you a transcript
  • Request a transcript through the mail. Select Get Transcript by Mail. Then, enter your Social Security Number, date of birth, and address. Then, the system will ask you if you want an account or return transcript and the year.

The fastest option is online. When you make an online request, you can download your transcript immediately. Mailed transcripts take five to 10 business days, whether you request the transcript online or over the phone. 

How to Fill Out Form 4506-T

To complete this form, you need your name, spouse's name if applicable, Social Security number(s), and address. If you're working with a tax pro or lender who has a customer file number, you also need that. It helps identify the transcript without using your Social Security Number. 

Then, you need to note the type of return for which you need a transcript. Or you can note that you want an account transcript, a record of account, verification of non-filing, or an income document transcript. Finally, note the year the request relates to, and sign the form. 

If you are married filing jointly, only one person needs to sign the form. If you're requesting a transcript on behalf of a deceased person, you will need to establish that you're their representative. Partners and owners can make the requests for business transcripts. 

Privacy and Security

To protect your privacy, tax transcripts mask most sensitive numbers such as your Social Security number. However, you can request unmasked transcripts if needed for tax preparation. 


FAQs About 4506-T and Tax Transcripts

What if I can't use the online/phone transcript request systems?

If you cannot verify your information through the online or phone-based transcript request service, double-check that you're using the last address on file with the IRS and the correct filing status. If that doesn't work, the IRS advises that you file Form 4506-T. 

Why does the online system say no record of transcript?

If your online IRS account says "No Record of Return Filed" for the current year but you know that you filed, the system may just not be updated yet.

When are current-year transcripts available?

Wage and income transcripts for the current year generally aren't available until May or possibly not until the following year. Most tax return transcripts are available within two to four weeks after e-filing and six to eight weeks after paper filing. However, if you have a balance due when you file, your transcript won't be available until mid-May if you e-file and until late June if you paper file. 

What if you need a wage transcript for the current year?

Unfortunately, you usually cannot get wage and income transcripts until the year after they are filed. For example, if you work for someone in 2023 and they issue a W2 in 2024, you won't be able to get a transcript of that W2 until 2025. The IRS suggests contacting the payer directly to request a copy of the tax document. If you need a copy of a W2 before it's available as an IRS transcript for retirement purposes, you can request a copy from the Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213.

When are current-year wage transcripts available?

The IRS Get Transcript webpage, updated February 2024, states that you can get current-year wage and income transcripts in May. However, the Form 4506-T instructions updated June 2023 state that wage and income transcripts are not available until the year after they are filed.

What if the online system rejects my request for wage and income transcripts?

You can only get up to 85 income documents online. If you have more, the system will reject your request, and you should file Form 4506-T. 

What should I do if the online system does not provide a non-filing letter?

If you have technical difficulties using the online transcript request system, you should file Form 4506-T. You can use this form to request transcripts and/or verification of non-filing letters.

Get Help With Tax Trouble Now

If you want a tax transcript, the quickest option is usually to create an online account and download what you need. Alternatively, file Form 4506-T or contact a tax professional for help. Using TaxCure, you can search for local professionals who are experienced with your specific tax concern.

Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies

Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies