Students and parents who have filed their 2015 IRS tax return will be able to select the IRS Data Retrieval option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to transfer tax information to the FAFSA. We strongly encourage you to select this option during the initial filing or when subsequent corrections are made to your 2016-2017 FAFSA. This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application.

To successfully use this option you must:

  • Have a federal tax return filed with the IRS.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Have an FSA ID.

You will be unable to use this option 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).

According to the IRS, this tool cannot be used until one to two weeks after electronically filing a tax return and six to eight weeks after filing paper tax returns.

How It Works

When either a parent or student selects the IRS Data Retrieval option, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. As the federal income tax filer, you will be redirected to a secure IRS website, where you will permit the IRS to transfer income data to the CPS. Data that is successfully matched will be marked on the FAFSA with the following notation, “Transferred from the IRS.” It’s as simple as that. This process avoids reporting errors and processing delays that can otherwise occur when the option is not selected.

Obtain a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval option or you changed the IRS data, you will be required to request a tax return transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid. There are three ways to request your tax return transcript: by phone, online, or by mail. Only if you need a copy of your W2s, request a wage earnings statement too.