IRS Data Retrieval Option for the FAFSA

IRS Data Retrieval Option for the FAFSA

We strongly recommend that parents and students select this option during the initial filing or when subsequent corrections are made to the FAFSA application. This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application. If you choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval, you must request an official tax return transcript from the IRS. We are no longer able to accept copies of federal income taxes for verification purposes.

Why use the IRS Data Retrieval:

  • It’s easy. You don’t manually fill in information from your paper tax return when you complete the FAFSA.
  • It’s fast. With a couple of clicks and verification of identity your tax information will automatically be transferred to your FAFSA.
  • It’s accurate. By using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you are ensuring that the Financial Aid office is receiving your most accurate tax information.
  • It streamlines the verification process. Your tax information will be correct. Students and parents that link their FAFSA to the IRS Data Retrieval will have automatically fulfilled most verification criteria for financial aid.

In order to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval option, you must have:

    • A federal tax return filed with the IRS
    • A valid Social Security number
    • A Federal Aid Personal Identification Number (PIN)
    • An unchanged marital status since December 31
    • Electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site a minimum of 2 weeks after the return has been filed.

Data from paper tax returns will be available in 6-8 weeks after the return has been filed.

Unfortunately, the Data Retrieval Process cannot be used in the following circumstances.

The applicant will have to submit Tax Return Transcript, if selected for verification:

  • Submitted a paper FAFSA
  • Federal tax filing status was “Married Filing Separate”
  • Filed an Amended federal tax return (1040X)
  • Filed a Foreign federal tax return
  • Marital status has changed since December 31 of tax year

Request a Federal Tax Return Transcript

Information for student and/or parents who have not yet filed their federal income taxes and are completing the FAFSA:

Select “estimated income” information on the initial FAFSA. Enter your estimated tax information of the FAFSA.

If you listed your tax filing status as “Will File” because you had not yet filed a tax return, please remember you need to return to and change tax filing status to “Already Completed,” and select the IRS Data Retrieval option once you have actually submitted a federal tax return to the IRS. Then you resubmit your FAFSA.

There are currently 4 methods to obtain the IRS Tax Return Transcript information.

These options are listed in the order that we believe is the most efficient.

Option #1

This is the best and quickest option available to you and/or your parents. If the taxes were filed electronically at least 3 weeks ago, you can log back into your FAFSA at and select “make a correction”. You want to make use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool under the “Financial Tab”. Once inside your FAFSA, navigate to the “Financial Information” section. Near the top of the page should be a blue button labeled “Link to the IRS”. This link will take you from the FAFSA site to the IRS’s site and if successfully completed, will transfer your tax information back to your FAFSA. You will still need to submit these changes before you log out of your FAFSA. Once we receive the updated, FAFSA, the tax requirement(s) will be fulfilled and you will not need to submit any hard copies of your tax return transcript. We recommend that you use this option every year. This process expedites your application process.

You cannot uses this process if:

  • Submitted a paper FAFSA
  • Filed as Married Filing Separately federal tax return
  • Filed an Amended federal tax return
  • Filed a Foreign federal tax return
  • Marital status changed after December 31
  • Applicant has made changes to IRS Data Retrieval information on FAFSA

Option #2

Go to the IRS transcript website and request a copy of your transcript online.

You will need your SSN, an email account, a credit card or a account number for an auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or home line of credit and a mobile phone with your name on the account to use this option.

Option #3

You may request the IRS Tax Return Transcript by mail.

The transcript can only be sent to the address used when the taxes were filed. It will take 5-10 days to receive the transcripts.

Option #4

You may request the IRS Tax Return Transcript by mail using the FORM 4506T-EZ. You can print this form from the IRS website at or you can pick one up at our office.

If you filed, or will file, an amended 2016 tax return, you need to submit a copy of the 2016 IRS Form 1040X “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return”. You will also need to submit a copy of your original IRS Tax return Transcript.