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Instructions for FAFSA/IRS data retrieval tool

When either a parent or student selects to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) within the online FAFSA, they will be transferred to a secure IRS webpage. From this IRS webpage they will see the specific information which can be transferred to the FAFSA. The taxpayer (i.e. the student or the parent) will then indicate whether or not they want to transfer this data back to the FAFSA. A successful transfer will be noted on the FAFSA as “Transferred from the IRS.”

Below you will find the following information:

  • Detailed step by step instruction on 'How to find and use the IRS DRT'
  • A description of situations which eliminate the option to use the IRS DRT

Steps for 'How to Find and Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT):

  1. Login at FAFSA.gov (this is the student's login using their new FSA ID username and password).
     - Additional information about the FSA ID
  2. After successful login, select 'Make FAFSA Corrections' option (located in the lower left area).
  3. Create a 'Save Key' (you must do this).
  4. 'Introduction Page' will display; simply click the 'Next' button.
  5. You are now into the actual online FAFSA -- and it takes you by default to the 'Student Demographics' section. To use the IRS DRT click on 'Financial Information' along the top of the FAFSA webpage.
  6. Determine which data set needs to be transferred using the IRS DRT:
    • Transfer 'Parent Tax Return' info -- go to the 'Parent Financial Information' section
    • Transfer 'Student Tax Return' info -- you will have to click through the 'Parent Financial Information' pages to get to the 'Student Financial Information' page where you can access the IRS DRT
    • Both the 'Parent Tax Return' info and the 'Student Tax Return' info -- complete as a two step process. First for the 'Parent' data; and second for the 'Student' data.
  7. Using the IRS DRT for 'Parent Tax Return' information: Make sure that you are in the 'Parental Financial Information' section and that the answer to the first question is "Already Completed." Once "Already Completed" is displayed, the parent will then see a series of questions which will help them determine if they can use the IRS DRT.  If you can legitimately answer 'No' to every filtering question, you will have the option of using the IRS DRT. Carefully note the following:
    • You must identify which parent from the earlier 'Parent demographics' section is going to use the IRS DRT
    • For the identified parent, you must now enter: a) the FSA ID Username or Verified Email Address; and b) the FSA ID Password.
    • Click the 'Link to IRS' button
  8. You will be directed to the IRS secure login site: When you login to retrieve your IRS data, your name, address and other information on the login page must exactly match the information on your tax return. Click the 'Login' button to continue.
  9. You will then see displayed the information that will be transferred to your FAFSA. At the bottom of this page is the decision area where you indicate whether or not you wish to transfer this information directly into the FAFSA.
  10. If you choose to transfer your data, once back at the online FAFSA you will see "Transferred from the IRS" in the appropriate data fields. Note: Once IRS data is transferred, do not change any tax related information on the FAFSA
  11. To use the IRS DRT for 'Student Tax Return' information: Make sure you are in the 'Student Financial Information' section and follow the prompts as described in steps 7-10 above.
  12. Once you have transferred the desired IRS data (parent only; student only; both parent and student in separate steps), make sure that you complete any other needed corrections and then go to the 'Sign and Submit' section! You must do these final steps for your FAFSA corrections to process!
    • Sign the FAFSA -- this requires both the Student FSA ID and the Parent FSA ID
    • Click the 'Submit' button!

You cannot use the FAFSA/IRS data retrieval tool if: 

  • Your marital status changes after December 31 of the same tax year 
  • Your tax return filing status is: 
    • Married, filing separately 
    • Head of household 
  • You filed an amended return 
  • You filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return 
  • You were not required to file a tax return

If you are not eligible to use the IRS tool, you may be required to submit a Federal Tax Transcript or signed copies of your tax return as part of FAFSA Verification. Information regarding whether or not you have to submit additional FAFSA Verification documents can be viewed at cedarville.edu/myfinancialaid.