IRS Data Retrieval Tool for FAFSA

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is available for most online FAFSA submissions. This tool allows Federal Student Aid applicants to import data from the IRS directly into their FAFSA forms. This makes filing the FAFSA a faster and more accurate process and decreases the chances that a family's FAFSA will be selected for verification.

Students and parents are directed to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if they select "Already completed" on the tax portion of the FAFSA. If you used estimates on the FAFSA, you will be directed to use this tool to update the form once you file your tax return.

This tool becomes available in early February each year.

Benefits

Filing using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provides many benefits to families, such as:

  • It saves time completing the FAFSA
  • It increases accuracy and limits need for verification
  • It's the easiest way to provide tax information

How it Works

If you select the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be transferred from the FAFSA on the Web to the IRS website during the FAFSA process. At that point, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will match FAFSA and IRS data. You will be required to confirm your identity, and then you'll have the option to review your information and select "Transfer" to import information into your FAFSA. Transferred information is marked on the FAFSA form with "Transferred from the IRS".

Eligibility

To use this tool, you and/or a parent must:

  • Have a federal tax return on file with the IRS
    • Note: Families must have filed online 1-2 weeks prior to using the IRS DRT and 6-8 weeks if filing a paper tax return
  • Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Have a Federal Student Aid PIN

You are ineligible to use this tool if:

  • You filed an amended or foreign tax return
  • You filed using a Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Your address on the FAFSA does not match your tax return
  • You or your parents file taxes as "Married filing separately" or as head of household

In certain cases, you may be required to provide a tax transcript. You'll need to go through this step if your FAFSA is selected for verification, you are unable to use the IRS DRT, or you change any information after using the Data Retrieval Tool. To order a tax transcript, call 1-800-908-9946 or visit www.irs.gov. You can also request a transcript by mail by sending form 4506T-EZ.

Questions?

If you're having trouble with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you should contact your school's financial aid office for help. There are a variety of reasons the tool may not work, such as your tax and FAFSA address information does not match exactly, or you've tried using the tool before your taxes are available. If you've tried to use the tool with no success, your school's financial aid office is the best resource for answers.

For additional IRS DRT help, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center by live chat, phone, or email.

Sources:
Automated IRS System Helps College-Bound Students with Financial Aid Application Process from the Internal Revenue Service
FAFSA - IRS Data Retrieval Tool from California State University, LA
IRS Data Retrieval Tool from Boston College