The IRS keeps detailed records on every taxpayer.
They store all of your return data and all of the information that they receive about you from your employer, your lenders, your bank, your broker, and many other people. These files typically go back for years, and the IRS can use them at any time to come after you with an audit or a bill for unpaid taxes.
If you have tax problems, or think that you might have them, the first step is to figure out what the IRS know and what it doesn’t know. Getting and understanding your transcripts gives you a chance to be on equal footing with the IRS.
It might seem easy to get your own tax file, but there’s a hidden danger. The IRS doesn’t get a lot of requests for tax transcripts from taxpayers, and if you send them one, they might get curious about your file and what you’re looking for. When you get your file, it comes right from the IRS’s computers and isn’t designed to make sense to people who aren’t steeped in the way that the IRS does business.
Tax professionals know how to request IRS transcripts without raising red flags and getting the IRS to scrutinize them. After all, we do it every day. We also know how to review the file and interpret it to get a sense of what you may have to deal with.