You are here

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, using your FSA ID.

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

3) Click on the white tabs in the upper screen of the FAFSA, to a tab titled “Financial Information.” Scroll down to the questions about income tax.

4) Make sure the question “Income Tax Return Status” is toggled to “Already Completed.”

5) There should be a white box titled "IRS Data Retrieval."  Review the questions there.  If all of your answers to the questions in the white box are “No,” you may 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?” 

6) 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.) 

7) 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.

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

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

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

a) You filed your tax returns electronically less than three weeks earlier, OR you filed your tax return on paper less than ten weeks earlier.

b) IRS Data Retrieval tool is available only if for the question “Have you completed your return?” you entered on your FAFSA: “Have Completed” (my tax return). If you entered “Will Not File” or "Will File" (my tax return),change the answer on your FAFSA to "Have Completed" so that FAFSA will offer the IRS Data Retrieval tool to you.

c) The marriage date reported on the FAFSA is on or after 1/1/2016 (for 2016–17). If they married after 12/31/2015, they could not have filed jointly for 2015.  They would have filed separate tax returns which cannot be imported by FAFSA.

d) 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.