The United States Department of Treasury informed the public today that individuals will now be able to download a transcript of their tax return from the Internal Revenue Service. Previously, you could request a transcript by mail that would take 5 to 10 business days to reach you. Now individuals can view and print their transcripts immediately, choosing among tax return, tax account, record of account, and wage and income transcripts in a feature the IRS is calling, “Get Transcript. ”In this day and age, viewing and downloading documents online is pretty commonplace. So why is this new service groundbreaking for the IRS? For one, the announcement came today at the Education Datapalooza hosted by the White House. The event promotes innovation in improving college access, affordability, and completion. The Get Transcript feature is significant here in that it enables student borrowers to access tax records for grant or loan applications in a much faster and easier way. Secondly, our current tax system is so complex that efforts at simplifying tax filing often run into the ground. Not to mention the opposition and lobbying from the tax software industry to keep things as they are. While the Get Transcript feature is sure to prove beneficial in numerous ways, users should beware when downloading from the IRS website. Early adopters report some glitches and bugs. Also, take care to ensure property security when downloading sensitive personal information, particularly when dowloading to mobile devices and laptops. Get Transcript has launched just in time for opening of the tax filing season on January 31st, 2014.
These free resources should not be taken as tax or legal advice. Content provided is intended as general information. Tax regulations and laws change and the impact of laws can vary. Consult a tax advisor, CPA or lawyer for guidance on your specific situation.