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Applying For Financial Aid - What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

*Please note that you are required to complete the IRS Data Retrieval, unless you are not eligible to.  For information about your eligibility to use the IRS Data Retrieval, please contact our office. 

The U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have collaborated to develop a tool that simplifies the completion of the FAFSA application.  The IRS Data Retrieval tool allows FAFSA applicants and parents to request and retrieve their tax data directly from the IRS.  Once this data is retrieved from the IRS, it can be transferred to the FAFSA application.

The following information will provide you with more information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

How does the IRS Data Retrieval Tool work?

Student applicants and parents who have filed their 2015 taxes will be given the option to use this tool when they are completing the Financial Information portion of their FAFSA application.

Please note that there are 2 separate Financial Information sections  on the FAFSA for dependent students. Students will use this tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use this tool for the Parent Financial Information section.  Click here for more information on determining your dependency status.

Upon selecting the IRS Data Retrieval Tool the applicant will be directed to the IRS website.

Users will then need to authenticate their identity before any personal information is displayed.

After viewing tax data, applicants will then have the option to “Transfer” the tax information directly to the FAFSA application.

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Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?
–  Applicants who are completing an initial FAFSA, completing a renewal FAFSA or making corrections to their initial FAFSA

– Student applicants or parents who:

  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Have a valid FSA ID
  • Have completed and filed a 2015 Federal Tax Return that has been processed by the IRS.

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Who can NOT use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

Student applicants or parents who:

  • Have filed an amended tax return for 2015 – please submit a signed copy of IRS form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ AND a copy of the 1040X
  • Are filing separately for 2015 – please submit a tax return transcript
  • Filed a foreign tax return for 2015 – please submit a signed copy of your foreign tax return

** Parents and/or students that filed a joint 2015 tax return and are separated/divorced, should contact our office for further instructions**

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When will I be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

The 2016-2017 FAFSA On The Web will be available online JANUARY 1, 2016 at

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available for use starting FEBRUARY 7, 2016.

Electronically filed 2015 tax return information will be available online from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool approximately
1-2 weeks after return has been filed.

Data from 2015 paper tax returns will be available 6-8 weeks after the return has been filed.

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Why should I use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

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: For student applicants and parents that are selected for verification for the 2016-2017 academic year, retrieval of your tax information to update the FAFSA application electronically is the most efficient way to provide tax information.

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What happens if I haven’t filed my 2015 taxes yet?

Even if you have not completed your 2015 Federal taxes you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates.

You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once you have filed your 2015 taxes to update your FAFSA.

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What happens if I am selected for Verification for 2016-2017?

If a student applicant or parent is selected for verification, you will be required to complete and submit a Verification Form and submit your up-to-date tax information.

  • You should provide your updated tax information by making a correction to your submitted FAFSA application using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, a copy of your official tax transcript* must be submitted.

* The Financial Aid Office will ONLY be accepting copies of official tax transcripts for verification purposes.  Our office is no longer allowed to accept copies of the federal tax returns filed.

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