Written By: Stacey Sprain
This is always a confusing time of year as we all scramble to figure out who filed their taxes when and how, how soon we can get copies of transcripts, how to verify someone really did file and what exact documentation our lenders will require and accept in various qualifying situations.
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I’d compiled a growing list of questions on this topic myself since the beginning of the year so I thought it important to take time out of my day to get answers straight from the Internal Revenue Service. I think you may find the following list of Q&A helpful to you as you review your loan situations and direct your borrowers on how to get you the information you need for their application as efficiently as painlessly as possible.
1. Once a taxpayer electronically files his/her 2009 tax return, approximately how long does it take before the taxpayer can obtain copies of his/her tax transcripts directly from the IRS?
3 Weeks. The consumer can call 1-800-829-0922 to check to see if their transcript is available and request it directly from IRS at no cost. However, they must allow 10 days to receive it.
2. If the taxpayer mails their return, approximately how long should they expect to need to wait until they can obtain a copy of their transcript directly from the IRS?
6-8 weeks and times may extend longer after April 15th. The consumer can call 1-800-829-0922 to check to see if their transcript is available and request it directly from IRS at no cost. However, they must allow 10 days to receive it.
3. Can taxpayer file their tax returns by visiting a local IRS office? And if so, will they get some sort of receipt as evidence they’ve filed their return with the IRS?
Yes and Yes.
4. Can taxpayers get copies of their tax transcripts by visiting their local IRS office in person?
Yes but only IF their return has been processed through the system (meaning still subject to the 3 week average expected turn time from date of electronic filing or 6-8 week turn time for mailed filings). However, once the transcript is available, keep in mind that if the borrower can get it at the local IRS office, it will save the added 10 day waiting period for mail time from requesting from the IRS 800 number.
5. How can we direct taxpayers to find their local IRS office location information?
Go to http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html, scroll down the page to the U.S. map and click on the state.
6. How does the taxpayer go about requesting copies of transcripts directly from the IRS? Is there a charge?
They can request their transcripts directly from IRS at no charge by calling one of the following numbers:
- 1-800-829-1040 and listen to menu to select prompts to get to proper menu
- Visit local IRS office to request directly on site
The IRS does charge $57 if the consumer requests a copy of his/her actual return (not the same as a transcript).
7. Can you explain the different types of “products” that can be requested using the 4506-T and what purpose each might be used for?
- Return Transcript: includes most of the line items of a tax return as filed with the IRS. A tax return transcript does not reflect changes made to the account after the return is processed. Transcripts are only available for the following returns: Form 1040 series, Form 1065, Form 1120, Form 1120A, Form 1120H, Form 1120L, and Form 1120S. Return transcripts are available for the current year and returns processed during the prior 3 processing years. Note: Transcripts will not show amount of tax owed or paid, outstanding balance or IF an amended return has been filed.
- Account Transcript: contains information on the financial status of the account, such as payments made on the account, penalty assessments, and adjustments made by you or the IRS after the return was filed. Return information is limited to items such as tax liability and estimated tax payments. Account transcripts are available for most returns. Note: Verifies outstanding taxes owed, account status, payments made, penalties, interest and fees etc. This is what you may need if there is any concern that a borrower may have a large amount of outstanding tax liability with IRS
- Record of Account, which is a combination of line item information and later adjustments to the account. Note: Ideally THIS is what we should require rather than just transcripts because this actually shows line item filing information PLUS includes information on amendment filings. THIS is what we would want to require in any case where the tax return copy provided by the borrower doesn’t match up to the transcript we receive.
- Verification of Non-Filing: Proof from the IRS that the borrower did not file a return for the year. Current year requests are only available after June 15th. There are no availability restrictions on prior year requests. Note: We would need to require this product to verify that a particular individual was perhaps not required to file and therefore did not.
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- Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript. A transcript that includes data from these information returns. State or local information is not included with the Form W-2 information. The IRS may be able to provide this transcript information for up to 10 years. Information for the current year is generally not available until the year after it is filed with the IRS. For example, W-2 information for 2007, filed in 2008, will not be available from the IRS until 2009.
So ideally, for a borrower who has recently filed tax returns for 2009 income that is for instance, required for qualifying such as may be a the case for some self-employed borrower situations, the most efficient way to obtain transcripts right now is to direct the borrower to check with the IRS periodically to determine when transcripts are indeed available. Then, if possible, have the borrower go to the local IRS office in person to request and obtain the transcripts on site. This will help avoid the additional 10 day or so waiting period for the IRS mailing process. This method also costs the borrower no fee for obtaining the transcripts.
About The Author
Stacey Sprain - As an NAMP® staff writer, Ms. Stacey Sprain is currently a NAMP® member in good standing, and is a NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). With over 15+ years of mortgage banking experience, Stacey is also a Quality Control Manager for a major mortgage lending institution. If you would like to become a volunteer writer for us, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.