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FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Federal Student Aid and the Internal Revenue Service collaborated to develop a solution that simplifies FAFSA completion. The IRS Data Retrieval tool will allow Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the web applicants to request and retrieve their income and tax data from the IRS. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA. Students and parents may transfer the data directly into their FAFSA.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool as it is an easy way to provide tax data and ensures FAFSA has accurate tax information. Please note, if you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information, you may be required to obtain an official tax transcript from the IRS.

Availability

Eligibility

Estimating Taxes and FAFSA Corrections

How the IRS Data Retrieval Tool works

Why Can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I files a tax return outside the U.S.?

Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I am married and filed taxes separately from my spouse?

Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I filed an amended tax return?


Watch an Overview


Availability

  • after 1-2 weeks of electronically filing your federal taxes
  • after 6-8 weeks of filing a paper federal tax return

Please note: if the taxpayer still owes money for taxes to the IRS, the IRS data will be available ONLY after the balance has been paid

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Eligibility

For 2016-2017, applicants filing an initial or renewal application or making a correction are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool if he or she meets all of the following criteria:

  •  Must have valid SSN
  •  Must have filed a 2015 federal tax return
  •  Must have unchanged marital status since December 31, 2015

The following list represents who can not use the IRS Data Retrieval tool for 2016-2017:

  •  Parents with all zeroes for SSN (Social Security Number)
  •  Any student or parent with a marital status date of January 1, 2016 or later
  •  Any student or parent who indicates they have not already filed a tax return or will not file a tax return
  •  A married independent applicant and spouse who filed separate tax returns
  •  Parents of a dependent student who filed separate tax returns
  •  The applicant, parent, or spouse, as applicable, who have filed an amended tax return

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Estimating Taxes and FAFSA Corrections

Since you can complete the FAFSA beginning January 1st (of the year for which you need aid) and because financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you still have the option of estimating taxes for the FAFSA and manually entering your data. Starting around April 1, 2016, Federal Student Aid will send notifications to remind you that once you have filed your income tax return, you should use the FAFSA corrections process to update your FAFSA using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval process.

If you choose not to use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval process or retrieve IRS data but subsequently change it, you will need to explain to your institutions why information you provided is more accurate than the information that would have been obtained directly from the IRS. If you elect to not use the retrieval process, you will be subject to being selected for verification. If selected for verification, you will be required to support your reported FAFSA data with information obtained directly from the IRS. For more information about the IRS Data Retrieval tool, please visit the FAFSA website. 

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How the IRS Data Retrieval Tool works:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool transfers your IRS tax information directly into your FAFSA. To use the Data Retrieval Tool, complete the following steps:

  1. Go to http://fafsa.gov and select the “Start Here” button
  2. Log in using your FSA ID
  3. Select the “Continue” or “Make a Correction” button
  4. Select the "Financial Information" tab from the top of the page.

Request to Update Parent IRS Information:

  1. Go to "Parent Financial Information" page
  2. Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  3. If eligible, select which parent is providing information on the FAFSA
  4. Enter the FSA ID for the parent providing the information
  5. Click "Link to IRS"
  6. Review the information displayed and select the “Transfer My Information into the FAFSA” option

Request to Update Student IRS Information:

  1. Go to "Student Financial Information" page
  2. Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  3. If eligible, click "Link to IRS"
  4. Review the information displayed and select the “Transfer My Information into the FAFSA” option
  5. Proceed to the Sign and Submit page

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Why Can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I file a tax return outside the U.S.?

If you did not file a Federal IRS tax return, you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool because there is no information on file with the IRS for you to view and transfer.

If you filed both a Federal IRS tax return and a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return, you will only be able to view and transfer your Federal IRS tax return information if you link to the IRS Web site. Therefore, your IRS tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

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Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I am married and filed taxes separately from my spouse?

If you are married and filed taxes separately from your spouse, you will only be able to view and transfer your own tax return information if you link to the IRS Web site. Therefore, your IRS tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

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Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I filed an amended tax return?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows users to link to the IRS Web site and securely transfer original IRS tax return information into their FAFSA, but not amended tax return information. Therefore, your IRS tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

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Last Updated: 8/3/16