UPDATE: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available again for the 2018-2019 FAFSA. For security purposes, the new version of the data retrieval tool will encrypt financial information and hide it from view on both the IRS and FAFSA web pages. After using the data retrieval tool, applicants and parents will see the words "Transferred from the IRS" in the applicable data entry fields instead of the actual income and tax information.
Here is a video explaining how to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool. Thank you, University of California, Santa Barbara.
- What is it?
If you complete your tax returns prior to completing the FAFSA, you may be able to use data retrieval to transfer information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into your FAFSA. Since the FAFSA uses financial information from two years prior to the application year, most families will have completed their tax returns before filing the 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 information directly from the IRS website. While using the data retrieval tool, make sure to input information like name and address exactly as it appears on your tax return. Otherwise, you may not be able to access and transfer your tax data.
- What if I don't want to use the data retrieval tool or I am unable to access my tax information while using it?
Using the data retrieval tool reduces the likelihood of your FAFSA being selected for the Department of Education's verification process. However, if you do not want to use the data retrieval tool or cannot get it to work, you can still manually input your financial information into the FAFSA. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will need to provide us with additional documents.