1. Log on to your FAFSA application at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  2. When you get to the Financial Information tab, answer “Already Completed” if you have filed your taxes for the previous calendar year.
  3. The FAFSA will list several tax-filing scenarios that might prevent you from using the IRS Data Retrieval. If you filed your taxes “recently” (fewer than 2 weeks ago), you may need to wait until the IRS Data Retrieval is available to you. Also, if you owe the IRS any payment of taxes, the IRS Data Retrieval will not be available to you until a few weeks after your payment has been received by the IRS.

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If you can answer “No” to all questions listed in this section, you should be able to complete the IRS Data Retrieval. Enter your FAFSA pin number. You will be alerted that you are temporarily leaving the FAFSA on the Web. Click “OK.”

  1. Once you are redirected to the IRS web site, you will get another warning notification reminding you that this is an official government web site not to be used for unethical purposes. Click “OK” again.
  2. Enter your filing status and address information. NOTE: The Data Retrieval tool is not the smartest program in the world when it comes to recognizing address abbreviations, so be very careful to type your address exactly as it appears on your IRS 1040 tax form! For instance, if the address on the tax return read “101 N. Walnut St.” but you typed “101 N. Walnut Street” or “101 North Walnut St.” into this website, the search tool may not pick it up. Three incorrect tries will return you to the Financial Tab of the FAFSA, but you may log in and try again as many times as you wish.
  3. Once the Data Retrieval’s search function has located your IRS account, it will show you a confirmation screen. Check the box that says “Transfer My Information” and then click “Transfer Now.” This will return you to the FAFSA application, but with relevant blanks filled in for you by the IRS web site.irs data retrieval2
  4. Continue to complete any blank fields on your FAFSA, but DO NOT change any value that was “Transferred from the IRS.” If you change any field with that label, it will remove the “official” nature of the data transfer and may result in you having to turn in a paper tax return transcript later on. Continue to the last page, where you (and a parent) will sign and submit your FAFSA application using your pin number(s).

Congratulations, you successfully used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool!


Download a pdf version of IRS Data Retrieval Instructions