Completing the FAFSA form just got a lot easier now with the new process called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which is the best and painless way to provide more accurate income information.

Beginning in February 2012, all 2012-2013 applicants (and beyond), and parents of dependent applicants who have completed and filed a 2011 Federal Tax Return, will be directed to use the IRS Data Retrieval process to complete their FAFSA.

With this tool, you will be able to transfer your federal tax information1 straight from to the FAFSA application – eliminating unnecessary errors that could have otherwise cost you financial aid that you were entitled to receive.

How to Use IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Note: Married couples who file separate tax returns and applicants who are neither eligible nor required to file a 2011 Federal Tax Return are not eligible to use this tool yet.

How the IRS Data Retrieval Tool Works?
  1. Enter your PIN2 on the Parent Financial Information section of the FAFSA 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.
  4. Once the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display. You will then have the option to “Transfer” the tax information directly to the FAFSA application.
  5. If you auto-fill your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will then be marked with “Transferred from the IRS.”

If you chose not to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process will be more likely to be subject to being flagged for verification and, if you are selected, will be required to support your reported FAFSA data with an official tax transcript obtained directly from the IRS.3

If you are still mailing in your federal tax returns, now would be the time to switch to electronic submission. With a couple of clicks and verification of identity, your tax information will automatically be transferred to your FAFSA.

  1. You’re required to file your tax returns electronically at least 2 weeks prior to using the IRS Data Retrieval process or 6-8 weeks if they were not submitted electronically. []
  2. If you don’t already have one, go to to get yours. []
  3. You may request a Federal Tax Return Transcript from IRS online at or call 1-800-908-9946 []

Last updated: June 21, 2012 by

Note: The information provided on this site is of a general nature and may not apply to your situation. Contact your financial aid administrator before acting on such information.