The Internal Revenue Service has put a new transcript delivery method in place to guarantee that your personal information is kept safe from hackers who are trying to steal your identity. Hackers attempt to retrieve your transcript data which in turn around will give them the information needed to file a fraudulent tax return. They will also steal your very important personal information.  The new enhanced method includes an account transcript that partially masks the personally identifiable information of everyone who is listed on that year’s tax return. Only the dollar figures on the records will remain fully visible. The dollar figures will allow tax preparers and tax representation to be able to gather financial data. This is most necessary for tax preparation. Having the financial part of the transcript visible will also allow for a taxpayer to show proof of income to many lenders.  Corresponding to the website here’s what is visible on the new tax transcript:

  • Last four digits of any SSN listed on the transcript: XXX-XX-1234
  • Last four digits of any EIN listed on the transcript:  XX-XXX1234
  • Last four digits of any account or telephone number
  • First four characters of the last name for any individual (first three characters if the last name has only four letters)
  • First four characters of a business name
  • First six characters of the street address, including spaces
  • All money amounts, including wage and income, balance due, interest and penalties

With the complete social security number being concealed on a transcript, the Internal Revenue Service has created an extra space for a Customer File Number. A Customer File Number is a 10-digit number that is made by a third party and can be entered into the transcript request. To request a copy of transcripts a Form 4506-T, Request for Transcripts of Tax Return, is necessary. This form is used to request prior year and current year tax records. The Form 4506-T should be signed and sent in by the taxpayer. The Form can also be signed by the taxpayer and then sent in by the third party who is requesting the data. When the 10-digit number is listed on Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, it will appear on the transcript also. The Customer File Number will act like a tracking number for the receiver who requested the copy of the tax return. This security method is added to help third party tax experts to identify the transcript with the appropriate individual.

As observed on the website, “Effective June 28, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service stopped faxing service for most transcript types to both taxpayers and third parties, this includes the Forms 1040 series, the 1120 series and the 94X series. Effective July 1, 2019 the IRS will stop its third-party mailing service via the Forms 4506, 4506-T and 4506T-EZ.” To access the tax account information for a taxpayer there is a method to receive the information through a secure mailbox. The secure access is also referred to as “TDS or Transcript Delivery System”. This system can be accessed by tax professionals with proper authorization on file with the Internal Revenue Service to receive information on behalf of the taxpayer. Transcripts delivered through this method will be available for up to 30 days if it is not viewed immediately. Once the file has been viewed and opened, it will only remain in the secure access mailbox for three days.

Individuals who file a FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will need tax information. The Internal Revenue Service receives a tremendous amount of financial aid applications on a yearly basis. This data is used to determine the amount of financial help that will be provided for a student or other qualified taxpayers. To complete the application, you must provide prior year tax return information. You are required to keep a copy of your tax returns in a safe and secure place for at least three years. We know this is not always the simplest thing to do so there are some ways that you are able to obtain a tax return transcript otherwise. Options for taxpayers, who do not have representation available to access the records and need to obtain tax transcript information is as follows:

  • Open the tax software used to prepare and file the tax return. You may be able to access the records to download and print a copy
  • Contact the tax preparer or worker who filed last year’s return
  • Download the tax transcript at Get Transcript Online. This feature is found directly on the Internal Revenue Service’s website, at IRS Tax Transcript
  • Order by mail. Taxpayers can use Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946 to order a tax return transcript and tax account transcript. The IRS will mail a transcript to the address on their return within five to 10 days.
  • Taxpayers who filed an amended tax return, Form 1040-X, should utilize the adjusted gross income and earned income listed on their revised tax return

If you are in a location that is a federally declared disaster area then the IRS will give you the opportunity of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on your federal income tax return for the year the loss occurred or the prior year. Claiming the loss on a prior year return will result in a refund for most taxpayers. In turn around, waiting to claim the loss on the current year’s tax return could provide a larger tax savings for taxpayers. The difficulty taxpayers run into is not having their current or prior year tax return information accessible after a natural disaster.  In this case, the Internal Revenue Service will waive fees and rush all requests for tax account transcripts. This information is needed for the taxpayer to apply for disaster related benefits or to prepare an amended return to include casualty losses. If you find yourself in this predicament then you must make sure to place the assigned disaster designation in red ink at the top of your Form 4506, Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form before submitting it to the Internal Revenue Service.

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