There are multiple situations where you need to find out what the IRS knows about you. It could be for the purpose of obtaining a loan, filing past year tax returns, or simply getting a copy of tax records for your files. A great place to start is understanding the IRS’s new online account function.
In the past, if you needed a copy of a tax return or wanted copies of W-2s and 1099s, you called the IRS, or filled out a form and sent it to them. You then waited. Now this information is available online through their Get Transcripts function.
How it works
Get registered using ID.me. To get copies of your information from the IRS, you must first register and have your identity confirmed with their approved partner. The identity confirmation process is either an interview or verification using an approved government issued ID like a passport or a valid driver’s license. So before starting the process it is best to be prepared with:
Original copies of either your drivers’ license or passport
A cell phone to take a selfie and to access software required by ID.me
Have a secure email and cell phone number
A secure computer on a private network
Getting access to your records. Once you have your identity confirmed, the IRS will allow you to set up a password and multi-factor authentication to access to your account.
Options within the account. Once your account is set up you can see:
Your account status
Payment function and activity
Copies of notices and letters
Any authorizations to access information or help you
Available tax records
In the Get Transcripts function, you can retrieve copies of W-2s and 1099s filed by others on your SSN, review copies of original 1040 transcripts, and any changes or modifications of the tax return. You can also retrieve history of advanced child credit payments and any economic impact payments.
Use caution. Setting up an online account with the IRS requires sharing sensitive information. So only do this on a secure device, on a home or private network. Make sure you are on the IRS website. Do not use an unverified link to their site.
Keep it private. The online retrieval service is for individuals. Do not have someone else set up your account and do not share your login information with anyone.
Online versus phone or mail. This new retrieval service saves a lot of time versus filling out forms or requesting information by phone. So consider signing up if you are in need of a form more quickly than traditional routes.