The Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service have worked together to develop a process, known as the IRS Data Retrieval Process. This process simplifies to simplify the steps to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
This tool allows you to automatically have your family’s income information input into your FAFSA. The process enables FAFSA to request and retrieve income and tax data directly from the IRS.
All FAFSA applicants and the parents of dependent applicants who indicate that they have filed their federal tax returns prior to completing their FAFSA may use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process to complete their FAFSA.
Some Families Will Not Be Able to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
- If the parents of a dependent student file separate tax returns;
- If an applicant’s parent has a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31;
- If anyone has filed an amended tax return;
- If the applicant or applicant’s parents have filed a foreign tax return.
Families Unable to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool you must request an IRS Tax Return Transcript to verify your income. There are a few options available to do so: 1) Get transcript online, 2) Get transcript by mail, or 3) IRS form 4506-T. More detailed instructions for each option is located below:
- Utilize the IRS Get Transcript online service to download and print your transcript immediately.
- In order to utilize the online option for the service, you must have:
- your SSN, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from your latest tax return,
- access to your email account,
- your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan, and,
- a mobile phone with your name on the account
- If you are unable to utilize the Get transcript online option listed above (#1), then you must request the transcript by mail. One way you can do so is by using the Get Transcript by mail service.
- For the Get transcript by mail service, you need your:
- SSN or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN),
- date of birth, and
- mailing address from your latest tax return (it must be exactly as it was written on your latest tax return)
- If you are unable to utilize the Get transcript online option listed above (#1), then you must request the transcript by mail. You can utilize option 2: Get Transcript by mail (listed above- #2) or you can utilize the IRS Form 4506-T, you must mail or fax the form to the appropriate IRS office based on where the tax return was filed. The address and fax number can be found on page 2 of the IRS form 4506-T.
After you have received your copy of the IRS Tax Return Transcript, then you must submit a copy to the Office of Financial Aid.
How the IRS Data Retrieval works:
If you and your parents have filed federal tax returns before starting the FAFSA, you will be able to obtain your income information while completing the FAFSA. If you have not filed federal tax returns before starting the FAFSA, you may input the IRS Data Retrieval information after filing federal tax returns by using the FAFSA corrections process.
Electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site 1-2 weeks after the return has been filed; data from paper tax returns will be available in 6-8 weeks.
Families must actively choose to utilize the data retrieval tool. When you choose to do so, you will be transferred to the Internal Revenue Service web site. You will need to authenticate your identity before any personal information is displayed. When entering your address, it is essential that you input your address exactly as it appeared on your tax return.
During the completion of the FAFSA, you will have the option to “Transfer” tax information to the FAFSA. Applicants can also choose NOT to transfer the data to the FAFSA. Transferred data will have a notation - “Transferred from the IRS.”
There is a step-by-step guide that was created for using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This guide can be of further assistance to you, if you are having trouble utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.