IRS Data Retrieval

The U.S. Department of Education and the IRS have simplified the FAFSA filing process by allowing students and parents to verify their tax data by linking the FAFSA to a filed tax return. This process is called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are eligible, we strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information.

If you are selected for verification and you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may be required to obtain an official tax transcript from the IRS.

Who cannot use IRS data retrieval?

  • A married independent applicant and spouse who filed separate tax returns.
  • Parents of a dependent student who filed separate tax returns.
  • An applicant or applicant's parent who have had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on Dec. 31, 2015.
  • The applicant, parent or spouse, who has filed an amended tax return.

How to use the IRS data retrieval tool

  • Go to fafsa.ed.gov and click "Login."
  • Login in using your FSA ID.
  • Proceed to "Make a Correction."
  • Select "Financial Information."
     
To use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA on the student or parent financial pages (data for both student and parent must be retrieved if a tax return has been filed by each; if student did not file a tax return, complete this process only for parent):
 
  1. Go to either the parent or student financial section.
  2. Answer the questions to see if you are eligible to use the IRS data retrieval tool.
  3. Enter your FSA ID and click link to IRS. Enter the FSA ID of the person whose tax information is being transferred. (Note: Students will not be asked to enter their FSA ID if they entered an FSA ID to begin their FAFSA.)
  4. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Website.
  5. On the IRS Website, enter the requested information exactly as it appears on your tax return.
  6. After the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display. You can transfer your information from the IRS, then return to FAFSA on the web to sign and submit the correction.
 
If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with that tax information will be marked with “Transferred from the IRS.” Once information has transferred, do not make any changes as this will void the transfer and you will be required to order a tax return transcript.
 
Please allow two weeks after electronically filing your taxes for the IRS data retrieval tool to be available (eight weeks if taxes were filed by mail).

Updating Your FAFSA

Families who completed their initial FAFSA with estimated income and have since completed their federal tax returns may be able to use the data retrieval process as explained above. Federal Student Aid will remind applicants that once they have filed their income tax return they should use the FAFSA corrections process to update their FAFSA using the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process. Subsequent messages will be sent every 45 days until mid-September then every 60 days until the end of the processing cycle.

Tax Return Transcript

How to obtain a 2015 tax return transcript

  • Accessible after taxpayer authenticates with the IRS website. 

To obtain a tax return transcript via "Get Transcript," visit www.irs.gov/transcript. After user authentication, provide the reason for the request, select the year(s), type(s) of information requested and other requested information.

  • Visit www.irs.gov and click "Order a Return or Account Transcript"
  • Or call the IRS at (800) 908-9946

Please be sure to select "IRS tax return transcript" and not "IRS tax account transcript." Use the Social Security number and date of birth of the first person listed on the 2015 income tax return, along with the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used on the income tax return).

In most cases, for electronic filers, a tax return transcript may be requested 2-3 weeks after the income tax return has been accepted by the IRS. For paper filers, the tax return transcript may generally be requested 8–11 weeks after the income tax return has been received by the IRS.

The transcript must be sent directly to the taxpayer. Please be sure to keep a copy of the original and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid.

The priority deadline to submit all required documentation for financial aid verification is May 15. If you have any extenuating circumstances that prevent you from submitting the necessary information in this timeframe, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

If you file an extension, please send a copy of the IRS form 4868 to our office.