Concerns over the privacy of taxpayer data prompted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make some changes to tax transcripts. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on the new transcripts is heavily redacted, however financial entries are still visible. According to the IRS announcement here’s how the information is laid out (you can also see a sample here https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/New_Tax_Return_Transcript.pdf ).
Last 4 digits of any SSN listed on the transcript: XXX-XX-1234
Last 4 digits of any EIN listed on the transcript: XX-XXX-1234
Last 4 digits of any account or telephone number
First 4 characters of the last name for any individual
First 4 characters of a business name
First 6 characters of the street address, including spaces
All money amounts, including balance due, interest and penalties
Since so much information is obscured, the IRS has created a new Customer File Number that lenders, colleges and other third parties that order transcripts for non-tax purposes can use as an identifying number instead of the taxpayer’s SSN. Third parties or taxpayers can create any 10-digit number, except for the taxpayer’s SSN, for use as an identifier. The Customer File Number listed on the 4506-T will be automatically posted and visible on the requested tax transcript, allowing the third party to match the document to the taxpayer. A Customer File Number can be, for example, a student ID number or some other number that the taxpayer would like to use.
The new transcripts went live on September 23, 2018 and are applicable for all tax years and are available through Get Transcript Online and Get Transcript by Mail services. Students and others using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process are not affected.
Click here for an updated Form 4506-T, “Request for Transcript of Tax Return”.
Beginning in January next year, the IRS plans to stop faxing transcripts to both taxpayers as well as third parties. By May of 2019 the IRS also plans to stop mailing tax transcripts to third parties and will only mail them to the taxpayer’s address of record. According to the IRS, transcripts are generally mailed within five to ten business days.