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FAFSA - IRS Data Retrieval and IRS Tax Transcript Instructions


The Office of Federal Student Aid and the Internal Revenue Service have worked together to develop a process, known as the IRS Data Retrieval Process, to simplify the steps to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Click here for instructions.


What is the IRS Data Retrieval?

This process will allow 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 On The Web 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 married parents of a dependent student file separate tax returns;
  • When the dependent student's legal parents are unmarried but living together
  • If an applicant’s parent has a change in marital status after the end of the tax year;
  • 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. Visit the IRS website for information about requesting an IRS Tax Return Transcript.

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 2-3 weeks after the return has been filed; data from paper tax returns will be available in 8-11 weeks.


Families must actively choose to utilize the data retrieval. 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.


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.”