It Is A Start: IRS Enables Americans To Download Tax Transcripts

I recently talked about how an IRS API would be the holy grail of APIs, and after reading IRS enables Americans to download their tax transcripts over the Internet, by Alex Howard (@digiphile), I’m getting excited that we might be getting closer.

As Alex reports, at a White House Datapalooza last week, the IRS announced the new access:

“I am very excited to announce that the IRS has just launched, this week, a transcript application which will give taxpayers the ability to view, print, and download tax transcripts,” said Katherine Sydor, a policy advisor in the Office of Consumer Policy of the Treasury, “making it easier for student borrowers to access tax records he or she might need to submit loan applications or grant applications.”

The topic came front and center for me as I was working on the FAFSA API, and I realized how critical parents tax transcripts are to the student aid process. I started considering how important taxes are in not just getting student loans and grants, but home mortgage, insurance and pretty much every other aspect of life.

I’m not going to hold my breathe for an IRS API in 2014, but this latest offering shows they are on track to making our tax information available to us over the Internet. The IRS should be able to achieve a modern API ecosystem, as they already have a working model around the IRS e-file platform, but having gained a better understanding of how government works this year, I know it won't be as easy as it may seem.