That’s right – the IRS now provides online access to your account records!
This comes after last year the IRS discontinued an online system that allowed tax professionals (EAs, CPAs and attorneys) representing tax payers in various tax-related proceedings to get their clients’ account information on-line.
Now you no longer need to pay your CPA to check what is your status with the IRS and whether the IRS has received that return you sent two years ago without a tracking number. Now you can do it yourself. Your tax professional no longer needs to sign you up on an authorization form and fax it to the IRS just to get access to your account – you can print it out at home and bring it to your next meeting! It almost feels like the 2000s are here.
So how does it work?
You start from this IRS.GOV page: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript. For your safety, copy it from the article to the address bar of your browser, or type it yourself. This way you’re sure that the page you’re getting is the one you want. Since it involves a lot of sensitive and personal information – this precaution seems to be in order here.
On that page you have an option to chose whether you’ll get the requested information on-line or via email. I suggest on-line – you never know who might peek inside the official envelope bearing the IRS logo.
Once you click the button, you continue to a secured web site. Check your browser’s identification that the site is indeed secured. In most browsers it would be an image of a locked lock appearing in the status bar or in the address bar.
Next step would be to provide your name and email. The IRS then will send a random pair of numbers to that email which you’ll be required to enter. This ensures that you’re a real person, with a real email address, which you can access and read.
Next step would be filling some personal information that is expected to match your recent tax return. If you didn’t file a tax return in the last 7 years – there’s a special procedure which you must follow. At this step you can chose whether you want to create a permanent username, or repeat the same authentication procedure next time you get to this page.
After that your identity will be verified through several random questions based on your credit report.
Once your identity is verified – you get to the page which specifies all the transcripts available. There are several “standard” reasons for people to want these transcripts, and when you chose the reason most closely related to yours – the transcripts most likely needed will be highlighted. But you can chose whatever you want.
Please make sure to enable popups, and to have Adobe Acrobat Reader (free PDF reader software) installed. The transcripts will appear as popups in PDF format. You can then save them on your own computer or print them out. They’ll appear exactly the same as if they were mailed by the IRS.
Voila. What all the banks and credit companies have been doing for the last 15-20 years is now available at the IRS as well!
For those of you in California, the CA FTB has a similar service at https://webapp.ftb.ca.gov/MyFTBAccess. Check your State taxing agency for more information.
Happy Tax Season!
Your Little Adviser