UPDATE: Due to security issues, the Department of Education and the IRS have announced that the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA will be unavailable indefinitely. Since you will not be able to use this tool, please have your tax documents on hand when completing your 2017-2018 FAFSA to make sure you enter accurate information. Without the data retrieval tool available, the Department of Education may select more FAFSAs than usual for the verification process, so we may need additional items from you after you complete your FAFSA.
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. The 2017-2018 FAFSA will use 2015 financial information, so most families will have completed their 2015 tax returns before filing the 2017-2018 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.