IRS's Get Transcript Online back online after hacker-induced hiatus

After a major data breach put the program on the shelf for a year, the IRS is once again making a service called Get Transcript Online, which enables taxpayers to electronically access transcripts of their tax returns as well as other tax-related information. The Get Transcript Online service went into suspended animation after a May 2015 data breach that saw hackers make off with information from some 724,000 taxpayer accounts.

Hackers were able to obtain enough taxpayer information – including answers to security questions – to successfully navigate the IRS’s authentication process. At first, about 114,000 accounts were thought to be affected. By August that figure had swelled to more than 330,000, and on Feb. 26, 2016, the Journal of Accountancy reported that another 390,000 accounts had been affected, bringing the total to 724,000. On June 7, 2016, the IRS announced that it had launched a “…More Rigorous e-Authentication Process and Get Transcript Online.”

The IRS said,

"With the assistance of top digital experts at U.S. Digital Service and other security authorities, the Internal Revenue Service today launched a more rigorous e-authentication process for taxpayers that will significantly increase protection against identity thieves impersonating taxpayers to access tax return information through the IRS Get Transcript online service.”

Assuming that’s true, and you want access to your records electronically, here are the steps, straight from the IRS:

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
    • 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.

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.

Transcripts available through Get Transcript Online are:

  • Tax Return
  • Tax Account
  • Record of Account
  • Wage and Income
  • Verification of Non-filing Letter

For details, restrictions, limitations and other Get Transcript Online information, the place to start is here.

Tagged Featured, IRS, Rodefer Moss, Taxes, Tax