IRS Data Retrieval
This process allows families to transfer certain income information from the IRS directly to the FAFSA.
The Department of Education encourages all applicants to utilize the IRS tax data retrieval tool when completing the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This tool is available to most tax filers who have a processed tax return on file with the IRS. Students selected for federal verification are required to utilize the tool to import student and/or parent income information directly from the IRS. If a student and/or parent is not able or unwilling to use the IRS data retrieval process, a tax transcript is required.
You and your parents are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you:
- Filed your 2015 federal tax return with the IRS.
- Have a valid social security number.
- Have a Federal Student Aid User ID (if you do not have an FSA ID, you will be given the option to apply for one)
- Do not fall into one of the ineligible categories listed below.
You and your parents are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:
- Your marital status changed after December 31, 2015.
- You filed married filing separately.
- You filed an amended return.
- You filed a foreign tax return.
- You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN).
- The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return.
According to the IRS, this tool cannot be used until 1-2 weeks after electronically filing a tax return and 6-8 weeks after filing paper tax returns.
You must actively choose to utilize the data retrieval tool. If you choose to do so, you will be transferred to the Internal Revenue Service web site. There, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. You and your parents will need to authenticate your identity before any information is displayed. Tax data will be presented and you will have the option to "Transfer" the tax information to the FAFSA. Transferred data will have a notation —"Transferred from the IRS"
Although the following video references the process for the 2015-2016 FAFSA, the information presented is still relevant and should be helpful to all families in understanding the process.
If you and/or your parents are selected for federal verification and are also not eligible (or choose not) to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when updating your FAFSA, the US Department of Education requires our office to collect an Official Tax Transcript processed by the IRS. Please note that parents who are married but filing separately must submit two separate IRS tax transcripts. Tax transcripts are not required for those filing a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return.
There are three ways to request your tax transcript: by phone, online, or by mail. Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript. Do not request a Tax Account Transcript because it cannot be used for financial aid verification purposes. Please be advised that our office cannot verify your financial aid award without a tax transcript.
To obtain a tax return transcript online please follow these steps:
- Go to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript
- Select Get Transcript by MAIL button.
- Enter the requested information and click Continue. *Tip: When entering your street address, enter the street address exactly as it appeared on the tax return.
- Be sure to select "Return Transcript" and the appropriate year. For the 2016-2017 academic year, you will want to select the 2015 tax year.
- If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address on file with the IRS within 5 to 10 business days. IRS Tax Return Transcripts cannot be sent to an address other than the one on file with the IRS.
- Once received, deliver the Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid Office.
To obtain a tax return transcript by phone please follow these steps:
- Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
- Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security Number and the numbers of their street address. Generally, these will be the numbers of the street address that was listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
- Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter "2015."
- If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested by telephone cannot be sent directly to a third party by the IRS.
To obtain a tax return transcript by mail please follow these steps:
- Complete Form 4506-TEZ (Request for Transcript of Tax Return).
- Form 4506-T is available online.
- Mail or fax the completed IRS Form to the appropriate address (or fax number) provided on page 2 of Form 4506T-EZ.
- Your transcript(s) will be mailed within 5 to 10 days from the IRS.