IRS Data Retrieval Tool

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), student and parents are required to provide details about their income. For most people, this includes data from the previous year’s federal tax returns. To streamline the application process parents and students may transfer required federal tax data from the IRS to their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

How do I access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? When completing the online FAFSA, www.fafsa.gov, the IRS DRT can be accessed in the “Financial Information” section of the application. It will only be available if the student or the parent(s) indicate they have already completed their federal tax return for the year.

Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? After electronically filing your federal taxes, the data should be available to access through the IRS DRT within 3 weeks. It may take up to 8 to 11 weeks for the data to be available if the tax return was completed on paper. Also, there are certain tax filing statuses that make students or parents unable to use the tool. These statuses include:

  • Parent or student filed as Married filing separately
  • Parent or student filed as Married Head of Household
  • Parent or student filed an amended tax return
  • Parent or student filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.

What is the process to transfer my federal tax data? If you are eligible to use the IRS DRT, the parent or student will be required to provide their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). If you don’t have your FSA ID you may apply for it at this point. After entering the information you will be transferred to the IRS website where identification is validated, including your exact address on record with the IRS. If a successful match is made, your federal tax data will be displayed and you can then transfer the data directly to your FAFSA. Do not make any adjustments to the transferred data or it will delay the processing of your financial aid application.

What if I need to complete the FAFSA before my taxes are completed? You may estimate your federal tax information for the FAFSA to meet your financial aid application due date. After you complete your tax return you will be able to update your FAFSA with actual tax data.

How do I use the IRS DRT to update my federal tax data on the FAFSA? Log into your FAFSA by visiting www.fafsa.gov and entering the student’s identifying information. Then click “Make FAFSA Corrections” and enter the student’s FSA ID and password. Review each section of the application, verifying that all initially reported information is correct and make corrections if necessary. If you initially estimated your federal tax data, in the “Financial Information” section, change your tax filing status from “will file” to “already completed.” The IRS DRT will then be available to use. For specific instructions on how to complete this process, please refer to the Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool document.

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