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IRS Transcript Codes: What They Mean and How to Solve Them


Content provided for general information. Talk to your advisor to learn about recent updates or other rules that may apply to your situation.

If you’re trying to figure out why you haven’t gotten your tax refund or why the IRS is sending you a letter, the IRS transaction codes on your tax transcript can help.

Using Your Tax Transcript

What is a tax transcript?

A tax transcript is a detailed record of your tax history. It’s kind of like your school transcript but for your personal income taxes instead of your grades.

When you request your transcript from the Internal Revenue Service, you can see things like your reported income, payment history, and IRS adjustments to your tax returns.

What are IRS transaction codes?

Your tax transcript doesn’t contain detailed written explanations. It’s mostly numbers such as the amount of income, amount of tax owed, or refund amount due.

When something changes or holds up your tax return or tax refund, you’ll likely see a transaction code or what many people call a tax code. It’s usually TC followed by a three-digit number, e.g., TC 123.

Like when people say 10-4 on a radio, the transaction codes are a short way of explaining what’s going on.

Where do you get your tax transcript?

You can get your tax transcript or account transcript in your online IRS account.

If you have a state tax problem, many states have a similar system.

If you’ve never used your online IRS account before, the IRS will ask you questions to check your identity. In some cases, you may need to wait to get a confirmation code in the postal mail if the IRS can’t verify your identity online.

You can also request your IRS transcript by mail either by requesting it online or calling 1-800-908-9946. This is an automated phone number, so you shouldn’t have problems waiting on hold or not being able to get through.

What is the IRS cycle code?

The IRS cycle code is actually a date. It usually doesn’t mean anything to you.

The IRS processes things in cycles or batches internally, and the code indicates the cycle your tax return is part of.

When do IRS transcripts update?

IRS transcripts update overnight in the early morning hours when everyone is asleep. There is no need to check your tax transcript more than once per day.

What do the different IRS transcript codes mean?

IRS Code 150

TC 150 means that the IRS has determined the tax you owe based on your original tax return. In most cases, it will match the amount due or refund amount you determined when you filed.

IRS transcript code 150 means the IRS has completed its initial checks on your original return. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get audited in the future.

IRS Code 290

TC 290 says additional tax assessed. You’ll usually see added tax after an IRS audit or automatic adjustment to your tax return.

In some cases, you’ll see code 290 with a $0 adjustment. This usually means the IRS checked something on your tax return but didn’t change anything.

If you see transaction code 290 multiple times, the IRS likely checked multiple things.

IRS Code 420

TC 420 means the IRS pulled your tax return for an audit or examination. You’ll likely receive a CP75 Notice or similar notice asking you for additional information.

IRS Code 424

TC 424 is actually a step before code 420. The IRS has pulled your tax return for an audit or examination, but there’s still a chance they could decide everything checks out without contacting you.

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