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
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows users to transfer tax information directly to the FAFSA, became unavailable as of March 2017. According to the Department of Education, this outage is expected to last until extra security protections can be added. While they are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, students and families should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season.
Read section below "Requesting a Tax Return Transcript."
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