If you’re Where’s My Refund? Status Bars Have Disappeared PLEASE READ!
One way to determine what is going on with your tax return is to go to the IRS website and request an Account Transcript. The IRS has made the “Get Transcript Tool” available for users to be able to instantly view their transcripts online if one is available. You can also call and request a transcript at 800-829-1040, however, creating a login and viewing your transcript online in real-time is the easiest and most accurate way to track progress. With an IRS online login, you can check the status on your account transcripts daily for updates. Ordering Tax Transcripts through the mail will not help you in any way. All ordering transcripts through the mail will do is waste paper that will end up hitting the wastebasket once you wait up to 2 weeks to receive them and realize the information is outdated.
Things to Remember:
- For the most updated and accurate information on your tax transcripts, you have to create an online account with IRS. Mailed tax transcripts are not good for checking updates.
- If your Transcripts are available for viewing through the IRS “Get Transcript Tool” you know the IRS has received your return and is processing it!
What is a Transcript?
IRS Transcripts enable taxpayers to obtain a record of their tax filings or subsequent adjustments to their return. A tax transcript is a line-by-line reprint of your original return whereas an account transcript includes both the original return information and any subsequent changes. The account transcripts provide critical dates such as the date you filed the return, the payments you made an additional assessed taxes. Account transcripts also indicate whether the tax return was filed by a taxpayer or was filed by the IRS as a substitute return for the taxpayer. Account information reflects changes made to the original return such as amendments and adjustments. Tax Account Transcripts are available for any account that is active in the Master File. An account transcript provides the following information:
- Amount of estimated payments
- The penalty paid/assessed
- Interest paid/assessed
- Interest paid to the taxpayer by the Service
- Balance due with accruals
Obtaining a copy of your IRS transcript is relatively easy, but understanding the codes listed on the transcript can prove more difficult. Here we will show you how you can use your Account Transcript to help you get a better understanding of what is going on with your tax account.
Why would I want an Account Transcript?
Here are some ways you can start implementing the use of your account transcripts.
- Waiting Longer Than 30 Days For an Update: The transactions codes that have occurred and posted to the account transcript can be pretty useful for someone who has been waiting for longer than 30 days and has not been able to figure out what is holding their tax return up.
- Track Letters & Notices: If the IRS is sending you a notice, the notice will show up as one of the line items on your account transcripts.
- Help Prevent Tax Return Fraud: One way you can help reduce tax return fraud is by being familiar with your transcripts. If a tax return has been filed with your information, it will show up on your account transcript as a line item. If you haven’t filed a return yet, this is a good indication that someone else has used your information for tax fraud. Checking your transcripts regularly could help prevent a fraudulent tax return from going any further by alerting the IRS as soon as you see the suspicious line item on the transcript. The damage done by the fraudulent claim will be significantly less if the refund money hasn’t been paid out yet. Taxpayers who fall victim to tax fraud have to wait longer to get their refunds— the typical identity theft case usually takes around 180 days to resolve. Some cases can take up to a year.
These are just a few of the reason you should have a Secure Online Access to the IRS “Get Transcripts” tool and be following your account transcripts closely.
How do I obtain my tax account transcripts?
How to Register for Get Transcript Online through IRS Secure Access Verification Process
Here’s what new users need to get started:
- A readily available email address;
- Your Social Security number;
- Your filing status and address from your last-filed tax return;
- Access to certain account numbers for either:
- credit card, or
- a home mortgage loan, or
- home equity (second mortgage) loan, or
- a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or
- car loan
- A readily available mobile phone. Only U.S-based mobile phones may be used. Your name must be associated with the mobile phone account. Landlines, Skype, Google Voice or similar virtual phones, as well as phones associated with pay-as-you-go plans, cannot be used;
- If you have a “credit freeze” on your credit records through Equifax, it must be temporarily lifted before you can successfully complete this process.
Because this process involves verification using financial records, there may be a “soft notice” placed on your credit report. This notice does not affect your credit score.
To securely access Get Transcript Online, first-time users must:
- Submit their name and email address to receive a confirmation code;
- Enter the emailed confirmation code;
- Provide their SSN, date of birth, filing status and address on the last filed tax return;
- Provide some financial account information for verification such as the last eight digits of their credit card number or car loan number or home mortgage account number or home equity (second mortgage) loan number;
- Enter a mobile phone number to receive a six-digit activation code via text message;
- Enter the activation code;
- Create username and password, create a site phrase and select a site image.
Returning taxpayers who have not completed the new secure access process:
- Log in with an existing username and password;
- Submit financial account information for verification, for example, the last eight digits of a credit card number or car loan number or home mortgage account number or home equity (second mortgage) loan account number;
- Submit a mobile phone number to receive an activation code via text;
- Enter the activation code.
Returning taxpayers who have completed the new secure access process:
- Log in with an existing username and password;
- Receive a security code text via mobile phone provided with account set up;
- Enter the security code into secure access.
If at any point, you cannot validate your identity – for example, you cannot provide financial verification information or you lack access to a mobile phone – you may use Get Transcript by Mail.
Get Transcript by Mail allows you to go online and select a return or account transcript type to be mailed to your address of record and delivered within five to 10 days. You may also call 1-800-908-9946 to order these transcripts by phone.
Different methods to get IRS Transcripts:
These are alternative methods to get your transcripts if you are unable to obtain them through the IRS Online
Call IRS directly
- Hold times can reach two hours. (Best to call first thing in the morning Eastern Time).
- IRS will fax up to 10 transcripts
- Fax can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 48 hours to receive
Go to a local IRS Service Center
- Other than the wait time instant access.
The Best Way to Check Updates on your Transcripts is to obtain your IRS Transcripts Online
- Click Get Transcript Online.
2. Click Get Started under First Time Users.
3. Read the registration information and click Continue.
4. Confirm that you have the required personal information available and click Yes.
5. Confirm that you have the account number from a financial account listed on your credit report and click Yes.
6. Confirm that you have a mobile phone number and click Yes.
7. Enter your First Name and Last Name as they appear on your most recent tax return. Then enter your e-mail address and click Send Code.
8. The IRS will e-mail you an 8 digit code.
Enter the code and click Continue.
9. Enter your personal information and address information and click Continue.
10. Enter the account number for one of the choices listed and click Continue.
11. Enter your mobile phone number and click Send Message.
12. The IRS will text you a 6 digit code. Enter the code and click Continue.
13. Create your User Profile by entering a username and password. Then enter a phrase and select an image that you will recognize. Then click Continue.
14. After your user profile is created click Continue.
15. Read the Security Announcement and click Continue.
16. Select the reason you need the Transcripts from the drop-down list and click Go. (We usually click Higher Education/Student Aid)
17. In the Account Transcript box, click the year for the tax account transcript you want to download.
18. Congratulations! Your tax account transcript will appear in a new window.
This is an example of an Account Transcript
Document Locator Number
Cycle Code Breakdown
What is the Cycle Code?
The cycle code is an 8 digit code found on your account transcripts. The cycle code indicates the day your account posted to the IRS Master File. This date indicates the 4 digits of the current cycle year, two-digit IRS cycle week, and two-digit processing day of the week.
Example: 20190604 = (2019 – Cycle Year) (06 – Cycle Week) (04 – Cycle Day) = Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Here is an example of cycle code 20190604 on the 2019 IRS Posting Cycles
20190604 = (201906 – Cycle)(04 = Wednesday) = Wednesday, February 6, 2019
2020 IRS Posting Cycles
We have simplified the IRS Posting Cycles from above to make them easier to read. All you have to do is find your cycle code on your account transcript and use these charts below to determine the day the IRS began to process your tax return.
Find your Cycle Code on the charts and determine the day the IRS began processing your tax return.
Trying to decipher your account transcripts?
Use the IRS coding system to quickly determine which transaction codes belong to which family of codes. For example, if you are ordering your transcript because you believe the IRS neglected to send you the refund they owed you, then look for three-digit transaction codes beginning with 84X because this family of codes indicates a refund was issued. If you were assessed penalty for tax fraud or disallowed a credit due to fraud, search for codes beginning with 9XX because this family of code indicates an IRS criminal investigation. Similarly, codes beginning in 29X indicate a tax increase or decrease, codes beginning with 42X reference the initiation of an audit and codes beginning with 52X indicate a bankruptcy.
The system of family codes will help you understand your transcript, but some codes are stand-alone codes and are not included as part of that system. The following codes are the most common transaction codes that do not fall within the family of definitions previously outlined: A transaction code of 150 means a return was filed, 300 is tax assessed as the result of an audit, 320 is a fraud penalty, and transaction 460 is an approved extension of time to file.
At the top right of the account, transcript is the date of request and date of response and the tax period covered by the transcript.
Check the taxpayer-identification numbers below that, as well as the taxpayer name or names, to make sure they are accurate.
The account transcript next lists the account balance, meaning the tax liability due and still outstanding. Following that is the interest and penalties, if any, levied on the balance and the most current date of these levies.
The next section lists basic calculations from the return you submitted to the IRS. Included in that are the number of exemptions, the adjusted gross income, the taxable income, and the total tax liability. Following these calculations is the amount of self-employment tax owed by yourself and your spouse. These amounts may have been adjusted by you with an amendment to the return or by the IRS, according to its records and corrections.
The transcript next gives the date on which the return was due or received, whichever was later.
The processing date is when they are expected to process. This date could change if certain transactions post to your transaction codes that need more time.
The final section lists transactions for the tax period, including the tax assessment amount and date, payments made and their dates, and any credits or refunds made and their date(s).
Once your Account Transcript shows an 846 Refund Issued Code you will know the IRS has completed your tax return and you are getting your money on the date next to the 846 Refund Issued Code as highlighted below.
The date next to transaction means that the IRS has until this date to complete the work on this transaction.
Common Tax Transcript Codes
- TC 150 tax return filed – which means the return was processed and posted to your account.
- TC 570 Additional Liability Pending or Credit Hold
- TC 571: this code releases TC 570 Freeze
- TC 766 Reversal of refund applied to non-IRS debt Generated Refundable Credit Allowance or IRS TOP Offset Reversal w/OTN
- TC 767 Reduced or removed credit to your account Generated Reversal of Refundable Credit Allowance or Rejected TOP Offset Reversal w/OTN A generated error correction which reverses a TC
- TC 767 w/OTN Reverses a prior posted TC 766, TOP offset reversal when input with the same offset trace number (OTN). Caution: This transaction must not be input except to correct a TC 766 on the FMS Reject Listing.
- TC 768 Earned income credit Posts Earned Income Credit which is generated from information received from Code and Edit.
- TC 810 Refund Freeze
- TC 811 Refund Release
- TC 820 Refund used to offset prior IRS Debt
- TC 836 Refund you chose to apply for next year’s taxes.
- TC 840 Manual Refund
- TC 846 Refund Issued or approved
- TC 898 Refund used to offset FMS Debt
- TC 971 Notice Issued
- TC 976 If a duplicate return is filed, TC 976 is attached to your account to indicate more than one return has been posted. Duplicate filings are a strong indication that identity theft may have occurred, and you should contact the IRS to conduct a further investigation into the issue. Your account will be marked TC 971 AC 522 when identity theft is suspected either by IRS or by your report to the agency.
Here’s a Full List of All the IRS Transaction Codes
Transaction Codes (TC) consist of three digits. They are used to identify a transaction being processed and to maintain a history of actions posted to a taxpayer’s account on the Master File. Every transaction processed by the IRS must contain a Transaction Code to maintain Accounting Controls of debits and credits, to cause the computer to post the transaction on the Master File, to permit compilation of reports, and to identify the transaction when a transcript is extracted from the Master File. Transaction codes that are unique to IDRS are also included. The definitions of several transaction codes are necessarily changed since there will be no resequencing, offsetting, or computer-generated interest. In addition, all refunds will be scheduled manually with the refunds posted to the IMF using TC 846.
The abbreviations used under the heading “File” are as follows:
- Individual Master File (IMF) “I”,
- Business Master File (BMF) “B”,
- Employee Plan Master File (EPMF) “E”,
- Individual Retirement Account File (IRAF) “A “,
- Payer Master File (PMF) “P”.
If you have any questions deciphering your account transcripts or want to help others on the tax refund hunt then comment below to tell us what codes you are deciphering while you wait for your tax refund.