IRS Data Retrieval

  • What is it?
    If you complete your tax returns prior to completing the FAFSA, you may be able to use data retrieval to populate information from your returns into your FAFSA.
  • How does it work?
    The FAFSA will ask you if you have completed your tax returns. If you answer that you have, the application will give you the option to leave the FAFSA site and pull your income data directly from the IRS website. You may also skip this option.
  • What if I haven’t completed my taxes yet?
    If you haven’t completed your taxes yet, you will not be able to use Data Retrieval until you do. However, if you answer that you “will file” your taxes, but have not filed yet, you can still use estimates to answer the income questions and come back later to complete the Data Retrieval process.
  • How long will it take for my tax information to be available through Data Retrieval?
    If you file electronically, you should be able to access your information using Data Retrieval after 1-2 weeks. If you filed a paper return, it will take 6-8 weeks for your information to become available.
  • What should I do if I don’t want to use the Data Retrieval process or if I am unable to access my tax information using the Data Retrieval process?
    Return to Step 2. If you are not selected for Federal Verification, do not have a sibling enrolled in undergraduate education, and you do not have any special circumstances you would like us to consider when awarding your financial aid, you may not have to do anything other than complete the FAFSA. We will contact you using your Macalester email if we need additional information from you.