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IRS Data Retrieval Process

In this Section

The Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service have partnered together so that students and families can retrieve their tax data directly from the IRS when completing the FAFSA.

We recommend you utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Process.  If you are selected for verification, in many cases you will not have to submit copies of tax transcripts before your financial aid eligibility is finalized.

This tutorial will guide you through using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

* Credit for this video goes to the University of California at Santa Barbara

IRS Data Retrieval Tips

If you filed your tax return electronically, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is generally available 1-2 weeks after you submitted your tax return.  During the busiest times at the IRS it may take 3-4 weeks.

If you filed a paper tax return, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is generally available 6-8 weeks after you submitted your tax return.

Applicants who chose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or who use the tool but then change the information on the FAFSA, will need to submit a copy of their tax transcript if selected for verification. The tax transcript must be requested directly from the IRS.

When using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool you must enter your name and address EXACTLY (even punctuation) as it appears on your tax return.

 The following applicants will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

  • A married independent applicant and spouse who filed separate tax returns;
  • When the parents of a dependent student filed separate tax returns.
  • An applicant or applicant’s parent who have had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31, 2011.
  • The applicant, or parent or spouse, as applicable, who have filed an amended tax return.
  • The applicant or the applicant's parent and or spouse, as applicable, have an unpaid federal tax liability.
If you already filed your FAFSA but did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may do so at www.fafsa.gov.  After entering your identifying information, click on “Make FAFSA Corrections” located in the middle of the page.
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