Know what the IRS knows about you

What does the IRS know about me? Revenue officer visits from tax return filing requirementsPeople often wonder, “What does the IRS know about me?” It would help to discover what the IRS knows about you in multiple situations. It could be to obtain a loan, file past-year tax returns, or get a copy of tax records for your files. So, understanding the IRS’s new online account function is a great place to start.

What does the IRS know about me?

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. This information is available online through their “Get Transcripts” function.

Where does the IRS provide my information?

  1. Register using First, you must register and confirm your identity to get copies of your information from the IRS. 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. But before starting the process, it is best to be prepared with:
    • Original copies of either your driver’s license or passport
    • A cell phone to take a selfie and to access software required by
    • Have a secure email and cell phone number
    • A secure computer on a private network
  2. Get access to your records. Once your identity is confirmed, the IRS will allow you to set up a password and multi-factor authentication to access your account.
  3. Options within the account. Once your account is set up, you can see the following:
    • Your account status
    • Payment function and activity
    • Copies of notices and letters
    • Any authorizations to access information or help you
    • Tax records
    • 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 review any changes or modifications to the tax return. You can also retrieve the history of advanced child credit payments and any economic impact payments.

What else do I need to know?

  1. Use caution. Setting up an online account with the IRS requires sharing sensitive information. So, only do this on a secure device, home, or private network. Make sure you are on the IRS website. Do not use a link to the site.
  2. You do it. The online retrieval service is for individuals. Therefore, do not have someone else set up your account or share your login information with anyone.
  3. Online versus phone or mail. This new retrieval service saves much more time than filing forms or requesting information. So consider signing up only if you need a form and cannot get it any other way.
  4. The online service is not for everyone. While it does save time, if you are at all wary of the service, contact our RRBB advisors. We’re just a phone call away.


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