Use the IRS Data Retrieval Option When You Complete Your FAFSA

Beginning February 2, 2016, students and parents who have submitted their 2015 IRS tax return will be able to select the IRS Data Retrieval option to transfer tax information to the 2016-2017 FAFSA. We strongly encourage you to select this option when you complete your FAFSA online.


  • By using the IRS Data Retrieval Option, you significantly lower the chances you are selected for verification which will save you time and expedite the application process.
  • If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you used the IRS Data Retrieval Option, you will not be required to submit any tax return documentation.

According to the IRS, electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site in 2 to 3 weeks after the return has been filed. Below are the steps to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval option.

  1. Have a federal tax return filed with the IRS
  2. Have a valid social security number
  3. Have a Federal Student Aid ID (FSAID)

You will be UNABLE to use IRS Data Retrieval Option if:

  • The person did not indicate on the FASFA that your tax return “has been completed”
  • The marriage date is January 2016 or later
  • The first three digits of the SSN is 666
  • The tax return was amended
  • The person filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • The person is married and filed the tax return either as head of household or married, but filing a separate return
  • Neither married parent entered a valid SSN
  • A non-married parent or both married parents entered all zeros for SSN

NOTE: Personal copies of tax returns can no longer be accepted.

What If You’re Selected for Verification and Do Not Want to Get a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS?

If you are being asked to submit a Tax Return Transcript for verification of your FAFSA and you do not want to request a Tax Transcript from the IRS,  you can make a correction to your 2016-2017 FAFSA and choose to use  the IRS Data Retrieval Option. You will need to log back into your FAFSA and make this correction online. The Office of Financial Aid will receive the corrected application and if you made no change to the IRS data, you will not need to submit a Tax Transcript. However, if you make changes to the IRS data or are unable to unable to use the Data Retrieval Option because of one of the conditions listed above, you have no other choice but to request the Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.