If you plan to adjust status (obtain a green card) or apply for an immigrant visa, you will need to provide the government with tax documents for the most recent tax year. In some cases, you are required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS and submit it instead of IRS form 1040. The tax transcript is a summary of your tax return provided by the IRS and confirms that the IRS reviewed and processed your tax return.
If you are planning to immigrate to the United States or obtain a green card you will need to prove the U.S. Government with documentation that you will not become a “public charge.” One consideration used in the public charge determination is income whether you are required to submit an I-944 form and documents (green card cases) or DS-5540 questionnaire and documents (consular processing cases).
Your income is considered to be a “heavily positive” factor if it exceeds 250% of federal poverty guidelines; a “positive” factor if it exceeds 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, and a “heavily negative” factor if you cannot establish current employment, a recent job history, or a reasonable prospect of future employment.
You can request your tax transcript by going to https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript. You will need to have information to verify your identify—some of which is unusually personal. You also must have a cell phone registered in your name. Click “Get Transcript Online” to begin the process of creating your account.
The registration process requires that you provide your SSN, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from your latest tax return. You will also need to provide a credit card, and home or car loan account number. Although it is unusual for a government website to request this information, it is for identity verification only. You will also need to provide your e-mail address. You will need to enter a code after it is e-mailed to your cell phone and verify your e-mail address.
If you can provide this information, you will be able to create an account and have instant online access to your transcripts. When you view or download them, they will only have part of your name and address—this is not an error but is intended to protect your identity. However, if you are required to submit multiple previous years’ tax transcripts, you will be able to access returns for prior years.
The IRS process for ordering tax transcripts is generally streamlined but can become difficult if you cannot supply some of the needed income verification information. The IRS currently does not offer a mail request option due to the COVID19 Pandemic. The only available option is to order it online.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.
Written by Francis Law Center Staff Daniel Lurker