Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

As a part of your financial aid verification process, Southeast Tech must verify to the federal government that the 2018 tax information you provided on your 2020-2021 FAFSA is accurate. There are several ways that this information can be provided. To determine if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is and option for you, review your original email. If you are eligible to use this tool, your verified tax information will have two asterisks (**) behind it. 

When originally completing the 2020-2021 FAFSA you were given the option of using the Automated IRS Data Retrieval Tool but chose NOT to. As a result, along with all other documents listed on your enclosed letter, you must either utilize the IRS Data Retrieval tool on the FAFSA OR provide verified tax information for 2018.

How Do I Use The IRS Data Retrieval Tool On The FAFSA?

To utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the 2020-2021 FAFSA, follow these steps:

  1. Student logs into FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.
  2. Ensure you are on the 2020-2021 tab near the top of the page.
  3. Click on the “Make Corrections” link near the middle of the page.
  4. Click on the “Financial Information” tab near the top of the page.
  5. Answer the questions asked to determine eligibility. If eligible to use the tool, enter your FSA password (For a dependent student, the parent financial information will be requested first).
  6. Click on the “Link to IRS” button.
  7. Click on “OK” to leave the FAFSA website and go to the IRS website.
  8. Click on “OK” after reading the notification about the IRS website.
  9. Enter your personal information as it appeared on your 2018 federal tax return.
  10. Click on the “Submit” button in the bottom, right part of the page.
  11. If your information successfully matched with IRS information, a list of information (actual numbers are NOT displayed) that can be transferred will be shown. To transfer this information directly to the FAFSA, put a check mark in the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” box and click the “Transfer Now” button.
  12. You will now be back on the FAFSA. All Data that was transferred from your IRS tax return will say Transferred from the IRS. This will be the case for about 2/3 of the questions in the Financial Information section.
  13. You will still need to provide answers manually to about 1/3 of the questions in the Financial Information section. The Financial Aid Office may be required to request further documentation if you fail to answer the non-transferred questions manually.
  14. When finished with the “Financial Information” section(s), be sure to sign the FAFSA with your FSA password (parent will also need to sign for dependent students), agree to the statement regarding accuracy of information and click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.

To use IRS Data Retrieval Tool, your 2018 Federal Tax Return must be filed and processed by the IRS. The Retrieval Option is typically available 10-14 days after an electronic filing or 6-8 weeks after a mailed filing. If you are unable to make the Data Retrieval Tool work you may instead provide verified tax information.