What Is It?
The Department of Education randomly selects certain FAFSA records for a process called Federal Verification. When a FAFSA is selected, there are additional financial aid requirements necessary to confirm your financial aid eligibility. A message included in your FAFSA confirmation report (the SAR or Student Aid Report) will inform you of your selection for this process.
To satisfy the Federal Verification process, students and parents who filed a federal tax return must either use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (preferred) or submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid.
Please note, that even though you may have already submitted signed copies of your federal tax returns, the requirement of the IRS Data Retrieval or tax transcript tool is still necessary when selected for Federal Verification. This process is required of both the parents and students when they have filed federal tax returns.
Students and parents who file their IRS federal income tax returns are encouraged to select the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to transfer their tax information electronically to the FAFSA. This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) Electronically Transfers Your Federal Tax Return Information Into Your FAFSA Form.
- EASY: Transfer info with the click of a button.
- FAST: Instantly retrieve your information.
- ACCURATE: Correctly fill in your information.
- Log in to your current FAFSA form or start a new application at fafsa.gov.
- In the finances section of the online form, you will see a “Link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT.
- Click the “Link to IRS” button and log in with your FSA ID to be transferred to the IRS to retrieve your info.
- Once at the IRS site, enter your information exactly as it appears on your federal income tax return and click the “Submit” button.
- Check the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA form” box, and click the “Transfer Now” button.
- You will know that your federal tax return information has been successfully transferred because the words “Transferred from the IRS” will display in place of the IRS information in your FAFSA form.
For your protection, your tax information will not be displayed on either the IRS site or fafsa.gov.
The IRS DRT can be used by both students and parents. To learn more about the IRS DRT, visit StudentAid.gov/irsdrt.
Requesting a Tax Return Transcript
A Tax Return Transcript shows most line items including AGI from an original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after the filing of the original return. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans.
To get a transcript, you can:
- Order online. Use the ‘Get Transcript’ tool available on IRS.gov. There is a link to it under the red TOOLS bar on the front page. Those who use it must authenticate their identity using the Secure Access process.
- Order by phone. The number to call is 800-908-9946.
- Order by mail. Complete and send either Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ to the IRS to get one by mail. Use Form 4506-T to request other tax records: tax account transcript, record of account, wage and income and verification of non-filing. These forms are available on the Forms & Pubs page on IRS.gov