Tax Transcripts Get a Makeover

Tax Law and News taxpayer data

Individual tax transcripts have a new look that the IRS says will better protect taxpayer data. The new transcript partially masks the personally identifiable information of everyone listed on the return, while continuing to provide full financial entries needed for tax preparation, tax representation and income verification.

The following information appears on the new tax transcripts:

  • Last four digits of any Social Security number (SSN) listed on the transcript: XXX-XX-1234.
  • Last four digits of any employer identification number 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.

The new transcript is now the default format for the IRS Get Transcript Online and Get Transcript by Mail services for individual taxpayers, as well as for the Transcript Delivery System (TDS) for tax professionals.

Customer File Number

Because the taxpayer’s full SSN is no longer visible on the tax transcript, the IRS created an entry for a Customer File Number (CFN). This optional 10-digit number will allow the tax transcript to be matched to a particular taxpayer. The 10-digit number can be any number except the taxpayer’s SSN.

For example, a lender seeking a tax transcript for income verification can assign a 10-digit number, such as a loan number, to serve as a tracking number to match the transcript to the taxpayer. The number is entered on the transcript request form (Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, or 4506T-EZ, line 5b, Short Form for Individual Tax Return Transcript), which is signed and submitted by the taxpayer or signed by the taxpayer and submitted by the lender. The assigned CFN will then appear at the top of the tax transcript.

Individual taxpayers using Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail can manually enter a CFN that has been assigned by a third party, such as a lender of college financial aid office. The CFN will display on the transcript when it is downloaded or mailed to the taxpayer.

Note, however, that students using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process are not affected and should follow the normal steps for student aid.

Tax Transcripts for Tax Pros

Eligible tax professionals can use the TDS to review a client’s return and account information online. The system can be used to request and receive tax return transcripts, as well as other account information, including wage and income documents.

Tax professionals using the TDS can also enter a 10-digit CFN that will automatically populate on the transcript provided through the system.

Personally identifiable information on transcripts provided through the TDS will be masked. However, if an unmasked Wage & Income transcript is needed for tax preparation and electronic filing, a tax pro can contact the Practitioner Priority Service at 866-860-4259.

To obtain an unmasked transcript directly, a tax professional must have a Centralized Authorization File number in good standing, an e-Services account and access to the e-Services Secure Object Repository (SOR), the e-Services secure mailbox. See IRS Fact Sheet 2018-20, Steps for Tax Professionals to Obtain Wage and Income Transcripts Needed for Tax Preparation, for details on how to meet these requirements.

An unmasked transcript will only be sent to a tax professional’s e-Services SOR. Alternatively, tax professionals without an e-Services account or SOR access can request that an unmasked Wage & Income transcript be mailed to the client’s address of record.