Get Transcript is back. The Internal Revenue Service's online tool where taxpayers can download copies of their prior year filing data had been effectively out of service for more than a year after it was hacked in early 2015. The online service still worked as long as you were willing to request your old filing data online, but wait for the actual information to be mailed to you in paper form. Now the service is available for all taxpayers to download their tax transcripts, thanks to a more rigorous e-authentication process.
The relaunch of Get Transcript Online addresses increased cybersecurity threats by using a new, more secure access framework, the IRS said in a statement announcing the return of the online service. A two-step authentication process is required for Get Transcript. The IRS acknowledges that the more rigorous Get Transcript e-authentication process could be a bit of an inconvenience for some taxpayers as they find it more difficult to authenticate their identities. But, says the agency, it is committed to making sure everyone accessing its website tools will be able to do so in a safe and secure way.
The IRS also will provide options for taxpayers who may be unable to access online features or who prefer to obtain information in more traditional ways. This includes ordering transcripts online or by phone and having them sent by mail to the individual's address of record within five to 10 days.
The security changes to Get Transcript, the IRS says, were the result of its work, begun after the Get Transcript hack was discovered, with the U.S. Digital Service and other security authorities. The new secure access process meets the security standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
To get started, new users will need:
- A readily available email address;
- Your Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number;
- Your filing status and address from your last-filed tax return;
-Access to certain account numbers for either: credit card, or home mortgage loan, or home equity second mortgage) loan, or 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.