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Financial Aid FAQs

IRS Data Retrieval & Tax Return Transcripts FAQs

Q. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student and, if the student is dependent, the student's parent(s) are required to provide details about their income. For most people, this includes data from their federal tax returns. To streamline the application process, students and parents may be eligible to transfer required federal tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Q. How do I access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

When completing the online FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be accessed in the "Financial Information" section of the application. It will only be available if the student or the student's parent(s) report they have already completed their federal tax return for the indicated year.

Q. Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

After electronically filing your federal taxes, the data should be available to access through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within 2 to 3 weeks. It may take from 8 to 11 weeks for the data to be available if the tax return was mailed. There are certain tax filing statuses, however, that make students or parents ineligible to use the tool. These statuses include:
  • Student or parent filed as Married filing separately
  • Student or parent filed as Married Head of Household
  • Student or parent filed an amended tax return
  • Student or parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return

Q. How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

  1. Enter 4-digit PIN number on the Student or Parent (whichever one is applicable) Financial Information section of the FAFSA and click Link to IRS.
  2. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the official IRS website.
  3. On the IRS website, enter the requested information.
  4. Once the IRS has validated your or your parent's identification, your or your parent(s)' tax information will display. You will then have the option to "Transfer" the tax information directly to your FAFSA.
  5. If you successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, your or your parent(s)' tax information will auto-fill into the appropriate questions on your FAFSA and will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS". Please be aware that if you make any adjustments to the transferred data, you will invalidate the data retrieval process.

Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax information if I/they are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please look below for guidance on the various ineligible statuses.
  1. Married Filing Separately: If a person filed taxes as "Married Filing Separately", they will need to submit IRS tax return transcripts for themselves and their spouse to the Financial Aid Office.
  2. Married Head of Household: If a person filed taxes as "Married Head of Household", please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out what is needed.
  3. Amended Tax Return: If a person filed an Amended Tax Return (Form 1040X), they will need to submit a signed copy of the original tax return or tax return transcript, and a signed copy of the amended tax return (Form 1040X) to the Financial Aid Office.
  4. U.S. Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return: If a person filed a U.S. Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return, please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out what is needed.
  5. Foreign Tax Return: If a person filed a foreign tax return, they will need to submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return with a conversion of information to U.S. dollars. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax information if I/they choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you and/or your parent(s) choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to submit IRS tax return transcripts to the Financial Aid Office.

Q. How do I obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript?

To order an IRS Tax Return Transcript, go to www.IRS.gov and click on the "Order a Return or Account Transcript" link under the Tools heading, OR call 1-800-908-9946, OR complete Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T (available at www.IRS.gov) and mail or fax it to the IRS. Make sure to request the "IRS Tax Return Transcript," not the "IRS Tax Account Transcript." Use the social security number and date of birth of the first person listed on the IRS income tax return, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used on the IRS income tax return).

In most cases, for electronic filers, an IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested from the IRS within 2 to 3 weeks after the IRS income tax return has been accepted by the IRS. Generally, for filers of paper IRS income tax returns, the IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested within 8 to 11 weeks after the paper IRS income tax return has been received by the IRS.

Q. What do I do if I've attempted to obtain a tax return transcript but have been unsuccessful?

  1. If the transcript request was made using a paper form (Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T), you must submit the following three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
    1. A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
    2. A signed copy of the IRS response informing the filer that the request was unsuccessful; AND
    3. Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided.
  2. If the transcript request was made online, you must submit the following three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
    1. A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
    2. A signed copy of the screenshot from the official IRS website indicating the request was unsuccessful; AND
    3. Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided
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Financial Aid Office

650.949.7245

fhfinancialaidoffice@fhda.edu

Building 8100, Room 8101

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