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How to Request IRS Tax Transcripts for Certain U.S. Immigration Benefits

When applying for certain immigration benefits for yourself or the beneficiary you sponsored for a greencard, you are required to show to the U.S. government that you make enough money that you or the beneficiary will not be any kind of financial burden on the country, or that you are of good moral character and doing your civic duty by filing taxes.

When is an IRS Tax Transcript Required?

The IRS tax transcript is required for various immigration benefits:

  • Naturalization (Citizenship)

You need to take “certified tax returns” or “certified tax transcript” to the naturalization interview. This is one of the requirements to prove that you are of the good moral character required to become a citizen.

  • Affidavit of Support (I-864)

When applying for Adjustment of Status (I-485) in the U.S. or an Immigrant Visa abroad, in the cases where an affidavit of support (I-864) is required, the sponsor should provide IRS tax transcripts. These can be either downloaded, emailed, or certified tax transcripts from the IRS.

  • Adjustment of Status (I-485)

As part of the adjustment of status (I-485) package, the applicants are required to submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, which requires IRS tax transcripts. They don’t have to be certified tax transcripts.

  • Removal Proceedings

Before granting any relief to the persons in removal proceedings, the immigration judge often requests evidence of tax filing if the individual is living and working in the U.S.

Justification for IRS Tax Transcript

In the past, a lot of people filed paper tax returns, which included the wet signature. People kept copies of their tax return and submitted them by postal mail. Nowadays, a majority of the people file their tax returns online, where they have not signed a physical copy of the tax return. They only have a non-signed copy of the tax return. Even though the tax preparation software can provide confirmation from the IRS that the return was accepted, immigration authorities prefer tax transcripts to avoid any confusion that the tax return was filed and about its data.

In any case, submitting a tax transcript is a lot easier so that you don’t have to submit a lot of pages that are part of your tax return. Even a simple tax return would have at least a few pages. A complex tax return could be hundreds of pages. Moreover, with larger tax returns, you would run into file-size limitations if you would need to upload them, for example, to the NVC, as part of the Affidavit of Support requirements.

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How to Request an IRS Tax Transcript

There are several methods to get or request IRS tax transcripts:

  • Online

Easiest and fastest. Of course, certified copies are not available in this manner.

  • Call

You can call the IRS by telephone at (800) 829-1040 to request your IRS tax transcripts. They will be considered certified copies.

They would take around seven to ten days to be mailed to you.

  • Postal Mail

You can submit Form 4506-T to request them by postal mail. They will be considered certified copies.

They would take around three to five weeks to be mailed to you.

Requesting Online Tax Transcripts from the IRS

To retrieve the IRS tax transcript online, please follow the steps listed below:

  • Make sure that you have the following information available first:
  • Full name
    • Email address
    • Birth date
    • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Tax filing status
    • Current address
  • Verification of identity
    • Last 8 digits of Visa, Mastercard, or Discover credit card (Note: Debit cards, corporate cards, American Express, Barclays, or some cards issued by banks in the U.S. territories are not acceptable) OR
    • Student loans (Note: Student loans issued by Nelnet are not acceptable) OR
    • Mortgage or home equity loan OR
    • Home equity line of credit OR
    • Auto loan

A soft inquiry will show up on your credit report to let you know that the IRS accessed your credit report information. This will not increase or decrease your credit score, and lenders will not be able to see this.

  • Additional method to verify your identity

You need a U.S.-based mobile phone number associated with your name that can receive text messages (SMS). That means virtual numbers such as Google Voice, Skype, Twillio, TextNow, etc., are not acceptable.

Follow online instructions (self-explanatory) and enter the information requested above. You will be able to download the transcripts for the past several years immediately.

The online process will ask the purpose of getting the transcript. You should select “Immigration”.

IRS Transcript Types

The IRS allows you to download several different types of transcripts:

  • Tax Return Transcript

It shows the details regarding the initial tax return, but not any amendments you filed. Available for the current tax year and prior three tax years.

  • Tax Account Transcript

It shows the basic details of the original tax return, as well as the amendments. Available for the current tax year and prior 10 tax years.

  • Record of Account Transcript

Combination of tax return and tax account transcripts. Available for the current tax year and prior three tax years.

You should use this type of transcript for immigration purposes. However, if you didn’t file any amendments, “Tax Return Transcript” should be good as well.

  • Wage and Income Transcript

Shows the data that IRS has received from several forms such as W-2, 1099, 1098, 5498, etc. Available for up to prior 10 tax years.

  • Verification of Non-Filing Letter

Indicates that the IRS has no record of you filing tax returns for a given year.

Which Year to Submit

If you are submitting a transcript after April 15, it would be expected that you submit either your most recent tax return or the transcript of the previous year. If you have filed for an extension, you should additionally submit a copy of the form requesting an extension from the IRS, which would be fine up to October 15.

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For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

Visit insubuy.com or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400