If you requested an extension to file your tax return and are not sure you have all the documents you need from employers, banks and other form producers, try comparing notes with the IRS by requesting a Wage and Income Transcript.

Any business that sends you a tax-related document during tax time also sends a copy to the IRS. What many taxpayers don’t know is that we can ask the IRS for a breakdown of everything that has been reported to them. It’s called a Wage and Income Transcript and is available for free at IRS.gov. You can have it sent to you by email or regular mail. As the name implies, the document lists out all of your income reported to the IRS. And it also shows deductible items such as mortgage interest and taxes withheld from income sources.

How to get your Wage and Income Transcript from the IRS
If you want to get a copy of your wage and income transcript, start by going to irs.gov and searching for the phrase. Then, just follow the steps provided to get your transcript online, or by mail. You can also visit an IRS office to pick up the report in person.

There’s just one catch: the transcript isn’t available with all your data until around July of the year following the year you’re filing for. So, your 2016 Wage and Income Transcript isn’t available until approximately July 2017. Comes in handy for those who filed an extension. For on-time filers: not so much.

According to irs.gov, a mismatch in taxable or deductible figures is one of the three key reasons a person may be audited. A key advantage of knowing what has been reported to the IRS on your behalf is a reduced chance of being audited.

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