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IRS Data Retrieval

IRS Data Retrieval:  What is it and how do I do it?  

IRS Data Retrieval is the only method which the Federal government permits for “Verification” of your /your parents’ Tax Information.  It is easy and it is very fast.  Here are the steps:

1)       Log onto your FAFSA at,

2)      Click on the red hypertext link at the bottom of the first page “Make FAFSA Corrections”,

3)      Scroll to the section of the FAFSA, to where the questions about Income Tax Forms and Information are located.

4)      There should be a white box that explains IRS Data Retrieval.  Review the questions there.  If all of your answers to the questions in the white box are “No”, you should be able to do IRS Data Retrieval.   Select “Yes”, to the question “Do you want to transfer your income tax information from the IRS website now?” 

5)      FAFSA will take you over into the IRS Website.  There, the IRS Website will “authenticate” your identity by having you enter information from page one of your Federal Income Tax Return. The information must be entered EXACTLY as it appears on your Income Tax Return….(e.g. St is not the same as Street or ST.) 

6)      After successfully authenticating, the IRS will display your income tax information and offer you the option to import it into FAFSA.  Select “Yes”, then  “Transfer now”.  Your Income Tax data will be instantly transferred into FAFSA, and you will again be in the FAFSA website.

7)      Change anything else you need to correct; SAVE and SUBMIT.

8)      Your new FAFSA will arrive at the Student Financial Planning Office in just a couple of days.

If you qualify for IRS Data Retrieval, it generally works very well.  However, the following conditions would disqualify you from using IRS Data Retrieval:

a)      IRS Data Retrieval is only available if, on your FAFSA, to the question “Have you completed  your return?”, you entered:

 “Have Completed” (my tax return)

If you entered “Will Not File” or "Will File"(my tax return), you will need to change that answer on your FAFSA for this question, in order for FAFSA to offer IRS Data Retrieval to you.

b)      The marriage date reported on the FAFSA is on or after 1/1/2015 (for 15-16)  … because if they married after 12/30/2014, they could not have filed jointly for 2014.  They would have filed separate tax returns which cannot be imported.

c)       IRS Data Retrieval cannot import the tax data if:

  1. The first three digits of the Social Security Number are 666.
  2. You have filed an amended Income Tax Return since your original filing.  IRS Data Retrieval cannot import amended returns.
  3. You filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return(s), or.
  4. You completed your FAFSA reporting “Married” as your marital status but filed your tax return as “Head of Household, or filed separate return(s).  

See the "What if Data Retrieval Does Not Work" link.