The IRS keeps electronic records of various items you submit on behalf of your business. You can contact the IRS to order transcripts that contain information concerning returns that have been filed, tax payments you’ve made and if you’ve accrued business tax liability, and a breakdown of penalties and interest assessed to your account. As a business owner, you can order these records directly or give an employee authorization to order them for you. Similarly, a tax professional hired to handle your business tax account can also order the records with a valid IRS Power of Attorney form.

Authorized Employee Requests

Complete IRS Form 8821, Taxpayer Information Authorization (see Resources). In the first section, complete the boxes using your business information and Employer Identification Number. In the second section, list the name and business address of the person you authorize to order your records. In the CAF number section, write “NONE”, and the IRS will issue a CAF number to your employee by mail. Include a fax number if you wish to receive records by fax.

Complete boxes in the third section of Form 8821 to indicate the type of information you want your employee to discuss with the IRS. Be specific in the “Tax Matters” section. If you want your employee to receive information other than transcripts such as a missing return or balance due information, state the items you authorize access to in this section. Check the box on Line 5a to receive transcripts. The IRS will not send them to your authorized employee unless the box is checked.

Sign and print your name in Section 7 of Form 8821. You must include your company title or the form will not be processed. If you own a corporation, indicate your corporate officer title; if you own an LLC, write “Member”; and if you are a sole proprietor, write “Owner.” You also must provide the date of signature.

Call the IRS Practitioner Priority line at 866-860-4259. This is a special line reserved for ordering transcripts and discussing limited account status. Press option “2” to speak with the business account division. An agent will ask your employee to fax Form 8821 while on the line, and he will provide the number to fax to. When the agent receives the form, he’ll come back on the phone to discuss your account.

Order the records you desire. An “Account Transcript” will provide most information you seek, including the date a return was received, the date tax deposits were posted and other information, such as penalty assessments and lien filings. Tell the representative the exact periods and forms you want to discuss. For example, if you want records for a quarterly return item, you must tell the agent the quarters you need records for. Request the transcripts be sent by your desired delivery method -- by fax or by mail.

Owner Record Request

Prepare IRS Form 4506-T (see Resources) to request records on your own accord. This is a mail-in form and records requested using this method will be mailed to you.

Indicate the name and Employer Identification Number the IRS has on file for your business in Section 1. In Section 6, indicate the tax form of your request. You can only request one form using Form 4506-T. If you need records from multiple tax return forms, you’ll need to complete a separate Form 4506-T for each one. Examples of common IRS business tax forms include Form 941, Form 940, Form 1120, Form 1120-S and Form 1065.

Mark the box for the record transcript you’re requesting. Generally, an “Account Transcript” includes all the information you need. Mark the box on Line 6b to receive this transcript. If you’re concerned about missing returns, mark the box on Line 7 to receive outstanding return information.

Indicate the years or periods that the request is for. If you’re requesting records for a return that is filed quarterly, you must list each quarter individually. Use a month, date and year format.

Use the contact information provided in the Form 4506-T instructions to mail or fax your request. You must send your form to the unit associated with your state of business. Your records will be mailed to you once the IRS processes your request. Generally, allow several weeks to receive your order.