IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import tax information into your FAFSA directly from the IRS.
In an update on Thursday, March 30, the Department of Education (ED) indicated that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will be out of service for several months, advising that “students and families should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season,” which starts in October, 2017.
Students and parents completing a 2017-18 FAFSA should manually enter 2015 tax information (not 2016).
On Monday, April 24 the Department of Education announced that institutions may now consider a signed paper copy of the 2015 IRS tax return for Verification documentation. While the Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable, students selected for Verification may submit a signed paper copy of their and/or their parent(s)’ 2015 tax return (1040, 1040ez, etc.) or request a 2015 Tax Return Transcript through Get Transcript Online.
Satisfying Tax Requirements for Verification
If chosen for the process of Verification, in which the Financial Aid Office is required by the Department of Education to confirm the information on your FAFSA, you are required to provide tax information for both student, spouse (if independent) , and/or parent (if dependent). There are two options for filling these tax requirements. As indicated above the first option (DRT) is unavailable for the 2017-18 FAFSA application. All parties must also provide corresponding wage statements (W2’s, 1099, etc.)
This option is unavailable for 2017-18 FAFSA. DRT can be used for the 2018-19 FAFSA application. However, the information transferred from the IRS will not be displayed when you use the IRS DRT. Instead, you’ll see “Transferred from the IRS” in the appropriate fields. This change was made to protect sensitive tax information.
- Return to the FAFSA website and click on ‘Make FAFSA corrections’.
- Scan through your submitted FAFSA information until you get to the Financial Information section. You’ll see the question, ‘Have you completed your IRS income tax return or another tax return?’
- Answer the eligibility questions, and, if eligible, enter FSA ID and ‘Link to IRS’.
- Pop-up windows will notify you that you are leaving the FAFSA site.
- Once on the IRS website your tax information will appear, and you will need to fill in tax filing status and address information as found on your federal tax return.
- If successful, data from your tax form will be brought back to the FAFSA website.
- It is important that you do not make changes to any data that is populated from the IRS.
- The student (and parent, if applicable) would continue in the application and sign and submit the application.
- If you retrieve the IRS data and leave it unchanged, you will not need to submit Tax Return Transcripts to the Financial Aid Office.
You are ineligible to use this tool and should use Option 2 below if:
- You filed married filing separately
- You are married and you filed as Head of Household
- You filed an amended tax return
- You filed an electronic tax return less than two weeks ago
- You filed a paper tax return less than six weeks ago
- Your address on the FAFSA is different from the address on your Tax Return
- Your current marital status is different than it was on your Tax Return.
- You filed a Puerto Rico or foreign tax return
Visit the IRS website to obtain a free copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript
How can I obtain a free copy of an IRS Tax Return Transcript?
- Online: Go to the IRS website and click Order a Tax Return Transcript. Note you must use the primary tax payer’s information if you filed jointly. You should receive the tax return transcript via US Postal Service within about 10 business days.
- Phone: Call 1-800-908-9946 and request the Tax Return Transcript. If you filed married filing jointly you must know the primary tax payer’s information in addition to your own information (full name, Date of Birth, SSN, tax filing status). You should receive the tax return transcript via US Postal Service within about 10 business days. You can also request to have the tax return transcript faxed directly to you provided you are physically located at the fax number.
- Form 4506-T available online (this is a free request). Use this form if your current address is different than what it was on your Tax Return. Complete, sign and send (via mail or fax) to the correct processing location indicated on page 2 of the form. You should receive the Tax return transcript via US Postal Service within 2-3 weeks.
Do I need to sign my tax return transcript before sending it to the Financial Aid Office?
It is recommended that you sign your tax return transcript, but it is not required. It is also recommended that you add your UMW student ID number to each page of the document.
The IRS has informed me that my tax return transcript is unavailable or they cannot locate it. What should I do?
- How long ago did you file? Did you file electronically or via mail? (Electronic applications take 2 weeks and paper applications take about 6-8 weeks to be available).
- Did you file a joint return? If so, make sure you are listing the primary tax filer’s information when requesting the tax return transcript.
- Do you have an unpaid amount due to the IRS? If so, there will be a delay in processing your return. Pay your tax liability as soon as possible and then request a tax transcript. The IRS has stated that tax returns for tax filers who have balances due will not be available until May or later.
- Check to make sure you have entered your address exactly as you did when you filed your taxes.
- If none of the above apply, you may wish to contact the nearest IRS Office.
Can I get multiple copies of my transcript if I am applying to more than one school?
It is recommended that you make multiple copies of your transcript to send to other schools, as obtaining additional copies from the IRS may be time consuming.
My current address is different from what’s on my tax return. What do I do?
If your address has changed since you filed your tax return, you may be able to request a tax return transcript via telephone or you may need to complete form 4506T to request a free copy of a Tax Return Transcript.
Can I have IRS Tax Return Transcript sent directly to the school?
Yes, however, use by parents may not be recommended due to the difficulty in matching student with parent data at the school. You can send transcripts to a 3rd party by submitting a completed copy of IRS Form 4506T.
I used the IRS Data Retrieval on my FAFSA, and my untaxed pension or untaxed IRA distribution rollover was incorrectly brought forward. What do I do?
Do not correct the FAFSA yourself. Submit a copy of your 1099-R to the Financial Aid Office. The 1099-R is necessary to confirm that the amount is a rollover. We will remove the amount from your FAFSA.