Comparing genotype results of tuberculosis (TB) isolates from individuals diagnosed with TB can support or refute transmission; however, these conclusions are based upon the criteria used to define a genotype match. We used a genotype-match definition which allowed for variation in IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) to support transmission between epidemiologically linked persons. Contacts of individuals with infectious TB (index cases) diagnosed in New York City from 1997 to 2003 who subsequently developed TB (contact cases) from 1997 to 2007 were identified. For each contact case and index case (case-pair), isolate genotypes (spoligotype and RFLP results) were evaluated. Isolates from case-pairs were classified as exact or non-exact genotype match. Genotypes from non-exact match case-pairs were reviewed at the genotyping laboratory to determine if the isolates met the near-genotype-match criteria (exactly matching spoligotype and similar RFLP banding patterns). Of 118 case-pairs identified, isolates from 83 (70%) had exactly matching genotypes and 14 (12%) had nearly matching genotypes (supporting transmission), while the remaining 21 (18%) case-pairs had discordant genotypes (refuting transmission). Using identical genotype-match criteria for isolates from case-pairs epidemiologically linked through contact investigation may lead to underestimation of transmission. TB programmes should consider the value of expanding genotype-match criteria to more accurately assess transmission between such cases.