The IRS just made many people’s lives a little bit easier. You don’t read that every day.
The ability to download your tax transcript is once again an available on IRS.gov. For many students and parents this means no more waiting for a transcript to be mailed, no more trips to the IRS office, and no more paper tax forms. Best of all, your financial aid can be finalized quicker.
The new request system uses far more security measures than the old system that was breached in early 2015. In exchange for amped up security there is one possible drawback: Anyone requesting a transcript must have a cell phone number directly linked to their name. In other words, the name of the tax filer requesting their transcript must be the primary account holder of a phone plan, and anyone who is not the primary account holder of the phone plan may not be eligible for this IRS tool. To students this means that if you are on your parents’ cell phone plan you may not be able to request a transcript online.
If you are successful in accessing your transcripts you will see different types available, and they all show different information so it is critical that you download the right one. The only transcript we can use for financial aid purposes is the “Tax Return Transcript,” NOT the Account transcript or Account Summary. If we are requesting your W-2s or a 1099, a Wage & Income Transcript will have all of those listed and can be used to verify individual sources of income.
Our office understands the frustration not having this online feature has caused in the past year. I’m not sure who is more thrilled that it’s back, you or us.