Nearly 4,000 Volunteers Celebrate Five Years of Caring

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2017-10-13

Volunteers celebrate as United Way collects school supplies for its Stuff the Bus campaign, one of dozens of projects that took place during United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring in September. Photo courtesy United Way.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) -  Since United Way California Capital Region held its inaugural 2013 Day of Caring, 3,692 volunteers have spent one day caring for their community over the last five years. Volunteers donated 18,054 hours of service, valued at $366,572, for 182 projects with nonprofits, parks and schools across the region, including on United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring that took place Sept. 22-23. 

“In just five years, Day of Caring has become the single largest volunteer day in our region,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Thousands of volunteers have dug their hands in to help hardworking nonprofits, parks and schools that do so much for our community every day.”

Hundreds of volunteers donated time for United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring at dozens of volunteer projects, including building garden beds at schools, painting nonprofit program facilities and cleaning up parks. The event began with a kickoff breakfast and rally at Cal Expo that included an appearance by Mayor Darrell Steinberg. As part of this year’s Day of Caring, United Way held its inaugural Stuff the Bus campaign, which raised more than $11,000 in school supplies for Robla School District in Sacramento. 

Nationwide has been the presenting sponsor for Day of Caring since it began in 2013. Project sponsors for 2017 included Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, ESM Prep, KPMG, Law Offices of Deon R. Stein, Nelson Staffing, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, Social Interest Solutions, Sutter Health, Syzmanowski Orthodontics, TaxAudit.com and Zurich. Media partners included Entercom Radio’s ESPN Radio 1320 AM, 98 Rock, Eagle 96.9 FM and 106.5 The End. 

Day of Caring is part of United Way California Capital Region’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org


Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - With the time change comes greater danger. Awareness and conflict avoidance are first steps.

Robinson’s Taekwondo offers a free clinic on personal safety and self-defense just for women.  Women are especially vulnerable as they are often exposed to danger as they pick up and drop off family members in school, run errands or shop for the holidays in the early dark. This is a special night of self-defense, safety and conflict avoidance with Black Belts and extra special tips, treats and temptations from style, fashion, makeup and more for the ladies!

Plan to attend this safety awareness and simple self-defense clinic, our instructors will help raise awareness of dangerous situations and locations, show how to escape an attacker’s hold and give everyone who attends a safety ‘mindset’.

Experts and vendors will also attend to share ideas, tips and treats with those attending.

The event is being held at all Regional participating Robinson’s Taekwondo locations across the Sacramento area on Friday Night, October 27, 2017 at 6:30pm

This special community service event is FREE, but failing to be aware and prepared to survive a very high price to pay! Be safe not sorry later, but register today!

Visit www.robinsonstkd.com to register. Click on Events! 


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Women's Empowerment Receives $25K from US Bank

By Kristin Thébau  |  2017-10-18

U.S. Bank Foundation representative Pam Maxwell presents check to Women’s Empowerment’s board of directors and executive director Lisa Culp.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program has awarded a $25,000 grant to Women’s Empowerment. The grant will support classes and programs that help homeless women gain the skills and confidence they need to secure a job and create a brighter future for their children. 

“We are so impressed with U.S. Bank’s commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness in our community,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This generous donation will ensure homeless women can get a job, become financially self-sufficient and provide their children with a safe, stable home. We are very grateful to U. S. Bank for their investment in ending homelessness.”

In Women’s Empowerment’s initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, financial literacy, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. 

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point in their lives when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.  

“The building blocks of a thriving community where all things are possible include stable employment opportunities, a home to call your own and a community connected through a culture of arts, recreation and play,” said Jessica Cook, product manager with U.S. Bank and Women's Empowerment board member. “Women's Empowerment provides the most comprehensive solution in Sacramento for women and children who are homeless. At U.S. Bank we believe in Community Possible and are proud to have Women's Empowerment as one of our partners in Sacramento.”

Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $54.2 million in 2016. Visit www.usbank.com/community.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com


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Sacramento Arts Festival Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary 

MPG Staff  |  2017-10-18

John Lane, of John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Sacramento Arts Festival, November 3 – 5, at the Sacramento Convention Center Complex.Photos courtesy c3 Communications, Inc.

Sacramento Region, CA  (MPG) - The 20th Annual Sacramento Arts Festival, considered the best ever in quality and variety, returns to the Sacramento Convention Center from November 3 through November 5. The festival has become not only the premier art and craft show in the Central Valley, but is also one of the top art festivals in the country.

Local favorite John Lane of Carmichael and John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Arts Festival.

Strolling through the festival, attendees can shop from a vast selection of extraordinary art and contemporary craft.  Visitors can choose from ceramics, clothing, decorative fiberworks, furniture, glass, gourd art, jewelry, leather, metalworks, paper, stone, woodworks, drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, sculpture, photography and two and three dimensional mixed media.

Festival attendees can shop for themselves, their homes and for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.  There is something for everyone including:

The festival includes 225 of America’s best contemporary craftspeople and fine artists offering more than 15,000 original works. It will feature both local and national artists from 11 states, as far away as New York

There will be special demonstrations of craft and art where attendees can meet and talk with the talented artists and craftspeople about how they make their unique items

Also included will be delicious festival food featuring Spiro’s Gyros (Greek), Indian Gourmet, American cuisine, and five vendors selling take home food, as well as continuous live Main Stage entertainment including the GG Amos Blues Band, The Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet, and Gabe Lewin on guitar

The event is planned for Friday through Sunday, November 3 – 5. Times are Friday 10am to 6pm,  Saturday 10am to 6pm,  and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St. (Entrance at 14th and J Streets), Sacramento, CA 95814. Admission is $8 Adults, $7 Seniors, with children under 12 free. For more information, tickets and $1 off coupon please visit www.sacartsfest.com

Source: c3 Communications, Inc.


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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - After five years of drought, the 2017 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983 as California’s wettest year for statewide runoff. The dramatic swing in water conditions highlights the need to develop better long-range weather forecasting to cope with the state’s highly variable annual precipitation. 

DWR begins water year 2018 intent on narrowing the forecasting gap with improved sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasting. Working with researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DWR is developing innovative technology to forecast land-falling atmospheric rivers.

“Current short-term forecasting for seven days out is 70 percent accurate, while the 14-day forecast is only seven percent accurate,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “That isn’t adequate for water management. Advancing accurate, even longer-range forecasting is critical for our ability to plan for California’s highly variable weather.”

The water year that ended September 30 saw an extraordinary number of atmospheric rivers that created high water conditions throughout the state. The Feather River watershed received record runoff in January and February, which led to some of the highest inflows into Lake Oroville ever recorded. More accurate forecasting would have helped DWR manage reservoir levels to deal with significant inflow in the days following the February 7 discovery of erosion on the main spillway at Lake Oroville. Better forecasting also would help inform the spillway’s reconstruction timeline based on predicted precipitation.

The record-setting precipitation in Northern California and above-average rainfall elsewhere contributed to flooding in several river systems. Fifty-two counties declared states of emergency due to the January storm sequence, and flood fight materials and specialists were pre-positioned in Merced, Butte, Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties based on the forecasts in anticipation that local agencies would request support.

Despite record-breaking rainfall in Northern California in water year 2017, drought impacts still linger. Governor Edmund Brown Jr. issued an executive order in April to end the statewide drought emergency, but maintained a state of emergency for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where homes with dry or contaminated private wells continue to receive emergency drinking water deliveries.

One success story stemming from the drought is the East Porterville Emergency Water Project, which will see 756 unincorporated East Porterville homes connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water supply by the end of 2017. Similar projects are underway in the communities of Okieville, Monson, and Seville-Yettem to connect an additional 195 homes to a sustainable water supply.

Another highlight of the 2017 water year was the announcement that 99 percent of the state’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins met a key deadline to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, particularly during times of drought. The long-term planning required by SGMA will reduce the impacts of groundwater overdraft, including subsidence, and provide a buffer against drought and climate change.

Although a wet 2017 minimized the risk of subsidence in historically affected parts of the San Joaquin Valley, DWR continues to fund satellite- and aircraft-based radar monitoring of subsidence by NASA to support local implementation of SGMA.

Looking ahead, DWR is preparing for the uncertainty of water year 2018 and beyond. In August, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the 2017 update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, prepared by DWR, which recommends long-term multi-benefit actions to improve flood risk management. This past year DWR awarded more than $4.2 million in Delta Flood Emergency Response grants to improve Delta flood response and increase public safety.

In the past five years, DWR has awarded 46 grants totaling $25 million to develop and update flood safety plans, and increase coordination, training, and flood fight supplies for local agencies across the state.

Ongoing SGMA implementation will bring overdrafted groundwater basins into balance to protect our water supply against the impacts of prolonged drought and climate change.

California WaterFix will upgrade California’s water supply infrastructure to more reliably transport water through the Delta, protecting against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change. The project provides a more flexible and environmentally-responsible way to convey water during significant precipitation events for use in dry years. Construction could begin in 2018, pending support from public water agencies.

The first phase of reconstruction on the Lake Oroville spillways will be completed by November 1, 2017, ensuring the spillway can handle 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) this water year. Phase 2, which will be completed by end of 2018/early 2019, will bring the spillway to final design with a capacity of 270,000 cfs. The emergency spillway will be reinforced with several erosion-prevention features, including a cutoff wall to prevent head-cutting erosion.

In the face of California’s highly variable weather patterns, DWR and our local, state, and federal partners are working together to ensure that Californians are prepared. Infrastructure improvements and advances in accurate, long-term forecasting are critical to public safety and sustainability. When it comes to water, California must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Read more about water year 2017 in the report “What a Difference a Year Makes.”

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

Source: DWR


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Sacramento, CA  (MPG) - J.D. Power announced recently​ that the Sacramento International Airport​ (SMF) has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among medium-sized airports in North America. The ranking is based on J.D. Power’s 2017 customer-satisfaction survey of almost 35,000 travelers.

The J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction Study measures satisfaction among customers in medium, large and mega airports across the United States by examining six factors: Terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail amenities.

Sacramento International Airport ranked highest in the categories of security check and terminal facilities. 

“Customer satisfaction is the essence of our brand, and this survey underscores our commitment to giving customers an excellent experience,” said John Wheat, Director of Airports for the Sacramento County Department of Airports. “We have beautiful facilities, fast security lines, and we’re easy to get to. We’re very fortunate that our partners in our airlines, the TSA and concessionaires share this commitment to great service.”

The security checkpoint was singled out for praise by customers. 

“Over the last year, TSA Sacramento has worked hard to refocus on our core security mission and improve communication, both with our public and private stakeholders and within our organization,” said Sid Hanna, Federal Security Director for Sacramento International Airport. “We have involved our supervisors in routine security meetings with the airport and airlines to improve our effectiveness and teamwork.” 

View the J.D. Power survey results. 

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) offers more than 150 daily nonstop flights on nine domestic and international carriers to more than 30 destinations.  The Sacramento County Department of Airport is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field.  The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County airport system is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit http://www.smf.aero

Source: Sacramento County Media


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Sacramento, CA (MPG) -California Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. today (October 13th) declared a state of emergency to help control the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and increase the supply of adult hepatitis A vaccines to meet current needs.

“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

To help combat the outbreak, CDPH has already distributed nearly 80,000 doses of the vaccine that were obtained through the federal vaccine program, but those supplies must be increased to continue to address the outbreak. Today’s declaration allows CDPH to immediately purchase additional vaccines directly from manufacturers and coordinate distribution to people at greatest risk in affected areas.

The adult hepatitis A vaccine is different than the one given to children, of which there is ample supply.

The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and drink or through direct contact with an infectious person. The current outbreak has largely impacted people experiencing homelessness and some illicit drug users. The virus can live for months in a contaminated environment, particularly in the absence of good sanitation.

To control this outbreak and prevent further spread, CDPH recommends the vaccination of people in affected areas who are homeless or using illicit drugs. CDPH also recommends vaccination of people who have frequent, close contact with at-risk populations in affected areas. CDPH is working with impacted counties to monitor the outbreak and implement vaccination efforts and is also providing guidance on improving sanitation, including access to handwashing facilities and toilets, to lessen the spread of the virus.

“Local public health officials are working hard to offer vaccines to people who are at the most at risk of infection, including homeless Californians,” said Dr. Smith. “Today’s order will help ensure communities can continue to deliver the vaccines where they are needed most.”

Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, a general ill feeling with lack of appetite and nausea, and, later in the course of the infection, yellowness of the skin and eyes. Severe hepatitis A infection is rare but does occur in people with underlying liver disease and can cause the liver to fail, potentially leading to death.

For more information about hepatitis A, review our frequently asked questions and visit CDPH’s website.

Source: www.cdph.ca.gov


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Urges Donors to Make Future Appointments Due to Shelf Life of Blood

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Following an overwhelming response from blood donors across the nation to support victims of the Las Vegas shooting, the immediate blood needs have been met. Donors came out in large numbers to give blood following the tragedy; however, they won’t be eligible to donate again until early December.  Since blood has a shelf life of just 42 days, BloodSource is urging donors to make future appointments to ensure that patients have an ample supply of lifesaving transfusions going into and through the winter holiday season. To make a donation appointment, visit BloodSource.org or call 866.822.5663.

Tragedy can strike without a moment’s notice, and the Las Vegas shooting proved that it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives. In Las Vegas, and across the country, donors came forward to give blood following the tragedy to help replenish the supply and meet additional patient needs in the upcoming weeks. BloodSource actively monitors hospital needs and proactively encourages donors to make future appointments when the time is right to carefully match blood collections with anticipated transfusions.

“After natural disasters and other tragedies, blood donors often come out in large numbers to support those affected, but it is important to remember that hundreds of patients need lifesaving blood transfusions every day in our community,” said Steve Ferraiuolo, division president for BloodSource and the West Division, Blood Systems, Inc.  “Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of donated blood. To patients and families benefitting from lifesaving blood donations, blood donors are heroes.”

BloodSource, a Blood Systems blood center, is part of a multi-state system of blood centers. This network works in tandem moving lifesaving donations throughout the system to help ensure blood is available when and where it’s needed most. Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

BloodSource has been this area’s nonprofit community blood provider since1948, and serves patients in more than 40 hospitals throughout Northern and Central California. It is a Blood Systems blood center. Blood Systems is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, currently serving more than 1,000 hospital and healthcare partners across 28 states to provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services for patients in need.


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TAKE FLIGHT Opens at Aerospace Museum

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2017-10-13

The Aerospace Museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo courtesy of Aeropsace Museum.

To Debut Interactive Exhibit in October
 

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Aerospace Museum of California is proud to present an interactive new exhibit titled TAKE FLIGHT that will be available for guests to explore and enjoy from October 17, 2017 through January 9, 2018. With a variety of dynamic elements and multiple activity stations, guests of all ages will begin to understand the fundamentals needed to achieve flight. The new TAKE FLIGHT exhibit will occupy approximately 2,000-square feet of space on the ground floor inside the impressive Museum.

The new exhibit will help Museum guests learn about the evolution and history of flight before they begin their own exciting journey of discovery with a series of building activities that help them create different forms of flying machines. The exhibit is designed to help visitors explore and understand how the physical characteristics of lift, thrust, drag, rotation and gravity are important to achieve flight. Guests of all ages will especially enjoy the activity stations such as Make it Fly--Planes, Make It Fly--Rockets and Make It Fly—Copters. Museum guests will have a chance to test out and fine-tune their designs with the help of elements such as the Wing Zinger, Rocket Launcher and Wind Tube. 

Museum Guests Can Enjoy Special “Rocket Talk” Presentations by a NASA Solar System Ambassador on October 21 Only

As an added element on Saturday, October 21 only, Museum guests will have the opportunity to see a special “Rocket Talk” presentation by NASA Solar System Ambassador Jayce Pearson as he discusses the fascinating world of rocketry. Ambassador Pearson will lead three presentations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on that one day only that will each include a lively discussion of the history of rocketry, how rocketry works, and what is happening in rocketry now. Between presentations, Ambassador Pearson will be available to answer questions about rocketry, space exploration and the solar system.

The TAKE FLIGHT exhibit and special activities are included with Museum admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and teachers (with ID), $8 for children and youth (ages 6-17), and is free for children ages 5 and younger along with active duty military (with ID) and Museum members. The Aerospace Museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and school or special groups of 20 or more are encouraged to book tours in advance with the reduced admission pricing of $7 per person. 

As a companion experience to the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the Museum is also home to a popular and fun Flight Zone flight simulator that is a state-of-the-art STEM learning laboratory featuring 10 digital flight stations (note there is an added fee for the Flight Zone flight simulator: $5 for a 20-minute session, available for purchase in the gift shop). Flight Zone is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the “Rocket Talk” presentations on October 21, the Flight Zone flight simulator or the Aerospace Museum of California in general, please call 916-643-3192 or visit www.aerospaceca.org.

Located in a spacious facility at McClellan Business Park in Sacramento, the Aerospace Museum of California is one of aviation’s greatest showcases that captures the allure of flight. With a wide range of impressive military and civilian aircraft on display – from biplanes to Russian MIGs -- and an extensive engine collection, the Museum also offers a state-of-the-art STEM learning laboratory or “Flight Zone” with 10 interactive digital flight stations. The Museum is committed to providing a world-class experience along with the opportunity to learn about and celebrate aviation’s past, present and future. For more, visit www.aerospaceca.org

For more information about the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the “Rocket Talk” presentations on October 21, the Flight Zone flight simulator or the Aerospace Museum of California in general, please call 916-643-3192 or visit www.aerospaceca.org.

 

Source: T-Rock Communications


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Washington, DC (MPG) - The Internal Revenue Service has an important reminder for taxpayers who filed for an extension and face an Oct. 16 filing deadline: The adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their 2015 return may be needed to electronically file their 2016 tax return.

For those taxpayers who have a valid extension and are in or affected by a federally declared disaster area may be allowed more time to file. Currently, taxpayers impacted by Hurricanes HarveyIrma and Maria as well as people in parts of Michigan and West Virginia qualify for this relief. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

As a reminder, taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Prior year tax returns are even more important as the IRS makes changes to protect taxpayers and authenticate their identity.

Extension filers should plan ahead if they are using a software product for the first time. They should have kept a copy of their 2015 tax return or if not, will need to order a tax transcript, a process that may take five to 10 calendar days. The AGI is clearly labeled on both the tax return and the transcript.

Taxpayers who prepare their own electronic tax returns are required to electronically sign and validate their return. Using an electronic filing PIN is no longer an option. To authenticate their identities, taxpayers will also need to enter either of two items: their prior-year AGI or their prior-year self-select PIN and their date of birth. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must authenticate their identities with this information.

Generally, tax-preparation software automatically generates the prior-year AGI and/or self-select PIN for returning customers. However, taxpayers who are new to a software product must enter the prior-year AGI or prior-year self-select PIN themselves.

How to Find AGI; Plan Ahead if a Mailed Transcript Needed

The adjusted gross income is gross income minus certain adjustments. On 2015 tax returns, the AGI is found on line 37 of Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040A and line 4 on Form 1040EZ. Taxpayers who e-filed and did not keep a copy of their original 2015 tax return may be able to return to their prior-year software provider or tax preparer to obtain a copy.

Those who lack access to their prior-year tax returns also may go to irs.gov/transcript and use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail. A transcript is a summary of the tax return or tax account. There are various types of transcripts, but the Tax Return Transcript works best. Look for the “Adjusted Gross Income” amount on the transcript.

Taxpayers must pass Secure Access authentication in order to access Get Transcript Online and immediately access their transcripts. Those who cannot pass Secure Access authentication should use Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to their home address within five to 10 calendar days.


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