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IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

Most FAFSA applicants and parents of dependent applicants who indicated that they have filed their federal tax returns will be directed to use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Process to complete their FAFSA more easily and accurately.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process you are strongly encouraged to use this tool. If you are selected for verification and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, you will be required to submit an IRS Tax Returns to complete the verification process.

Instructions for Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tol (DRT) on your initial FAFSA

The IRS Data Retrieval tool will appear in the “Financial Information” section of the FAFSA website.

  1. Enter your PIN and click “Link to IRS.”
  2. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site.
  3. On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information and click “submit.”
  4. Once the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display. You can either transfer your information from the IRS or choose to return to FAFSA on the Web from the IRS Web site.
    • If you do not transfer your information or choose not to return from the IRS Web site, you may have to login to open your saved FAFSA.
    • Remember, if you choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval process, you may be required to send in IRS Tax Returns.
  5. If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will be marked with “Transferred from the IRS”.

In most cases, the tax returns will have already been filed for the appropriate year. If you did not file your IRS tax return by their deadline, and you just submitted the return recently (electronically within the past three weeks or by mail within the past eight weeks) or have not yet filed your federal tax return for the appropriate year, you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval. You will have to use your home copy of the returns and manually enter the income data.

Instructions for Corrections and Updates to your FAFSA

Once you have completed your taxes, wait the appropriate length of time (three weeks if filed electronically and eight weeks if by mail) and follow these steps:

  1. Log back into FAFSA.
  2. Choose “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  3. Click on the Financial Information tab.
  4. Change from “Will File” to “Already Completed.”
  5. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, click on the “Link to IRS” link and click “OK.”
  6. On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information and click “submit.”
  7. Click the box under the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” and then click “Transfer Now.”
  8. You should then receive a message “You have successfully transferred your 20XX tax information.”
  9. Be sure to finish going through all the steps and electronically sign (if dependent student one of your parents also needs to electronically sign) and submit your FAFSA. You are not finished until you have successfully submitted your FAFSA and received a confirmation number.

If you are still unsure how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool please watch this financial aid video for detailed instructions.

There are a few situations in which you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process:

  1. Married and filing separately – submit transcript for each spouse.
  2. Filing a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  3. Had a recent change in marital status.

In these cases, if you are selected for verification, you will need to submit an IRS federal 1040 tax return.