Tax transcripts are a common tool used to solve tax problems. There are five different types. The type we use depends on the situation.
1) Tax Return Transcript – shows you tax return as filed, including most line items including your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your original Form 1040-series tax return as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans
2) Tax Account Transcript – shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is available for the current tax year and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, you’re limited to the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. Note: If you made estimated tax payments and/or applied an overpayment from a prior year return, you can request this transcript type a few weeks after the beginning of the calendar year to confirm your payments prior to filing your tax return.
3) Record of Account Transcript – combines the tax return and tax account transcripts above into one complete transcript. This is the transcript I use most often to get information on filed tx returns. It is available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years.
4) Wage and Income Transcript – shows data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. It is used when tax returns have not been filed. Current tax year information may not be complete until July. This transcript is available for up to 10 prior years.
5) Verification of Non-filing Letter – provides proof that the IRS has no record of a filed Form 1040-series tax return for the year you requested. It does not indicate whether you were required to file a return for that year.
Fortunately, I can access these transcripts online to help a taxpayer. That requires written authorization, of course, and it is not a speedy process.