IRS Data Retrieval

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows applicants for federal student aid to automatically import data from the federal tax filings into their FAFSA, has been suspended by the IRS.   At the present time we do not have any information regarding if or when the tool will be reinstated.

The Office of Student Financial Assistance, in being consistent with federal regulations governing the processing and verification of the FAFSA, may require the federal IRS Tax Transcript.  In order to review a student’s application for federal and institutional student aid, a student chosen for verification by the US Department of Education should request an IRS Tax Transcript (for both themselves and for parents, if dependent) as soon as possible, as processing time for the IRS may be lengthy. 

The Free Application Of Student Aid (FAFSA) includes an option for applicants to pull IRS data directly into the FAFSA. Applicants who are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval process are linked to an IRS website from FAFSA on the Web. This saves time previously spent finding the required information on tax returns and ensures accuracy of reporting.

If an applicant is unable to, or chooses not to, utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, they should complete the FAFSA to the best of their ability using tax return(s), end of year pay records or other financial documents.  If the FAFSA was initially filed before tax returns were completed or before the data was available through the FAFSA, we recommend applicants log in and retrieve the actual IRS data and submit a correction to the FAFSA which will in turn be sent to GW.

Applicants are unable to utilize the IRS Data if:

  • The applicant or applicant’s parent had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year
  • The applicant or parent filed tax returns as head of household
  • The married parents of a dependent applicant filed separate tax returns
  • A married independent applicant and spouse filed separate tax returns

IRS Transcripts

If an undergraduate applicant’s file is selected for verification, the applicant, parent, or spouse will need to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service. Graduate applicants do not need to request their IRS Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service unless expressly asked. The IRS Tax Return Transcript is different than the Tax Account Transcript. 

If an applicant had originally chosen not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool but is eligible to do so, they can log in and retrieve the actual IRS data and submit a correction to the FAFSA.  Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool satisfies the need to order a transcript. Once the FAFSA correction is received and reviewed, the Tax Return Transcript request will be waived.

Ordering Transcripts from the IRS

Applicants can request a copy of an IRS Transcript from the IRS online, by mail or by telephone. For detailed instructions visit the IRS website.

Quick Facts About the IRS Tax Return Transcript

  1. There is no charge for the IRS Tax Return Transcript.
  2. Applicants can request their tax transcript as soon as the IRS processes their return.  The IRS generally processes online returns within three weeks and those filed by paper within six to eight weeks.
  3. Applicants should receive the transcript within 5 to 10 calendar days after a request is made.  This does not change based upon "peak" times for the IRS because the system is automated.

Tax Filers with Special Circumstances

Amended Returns

If an individual filed an amended IRS income tax return, provide both of the following:

  • A signed copy of the original IRS income tax return that was filed with the IRS or an IRS Tax Return Transcript (signature not required) for the applicable tax year; and
  • A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X, "Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return," that was filed with the IRS

Foreign Tax Returns

Applicants who filed foreign returns must submit a signed copy of the foreign returns or other information listing similar income and tax information, converted to US dollars. Applicants not required to file taxes under the nation's process should submit a signed statement from the employer(s) on company letterhead certifying income and taxes paid, if any, for an applicable calendar year.

US Territory or Commonwealth Tax Returns

Applicants who filed or will file an income tax return with Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory (e.g., Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas Islands), or with a foreign country, must provide a signed copy of that income tax return(s).

Identify Theft

A victim of IRS identity theft, who has been unable to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript or use the IRS DRT, must provide a signed copy of the applicable paper IRS income tax return that was filed with the IRS and a signed copy of IRS Form 14039 "Identity Theft Affidavit", if one was submitted to the IRS. If a copy of Form 14039 was not saved or if the IRS did not require one, the applicant may provide one of the following:

  • A statement signed and dated by the applicant indicating that they were a victim of IRS identity theft and that the IRS is investigating the matter. The statement must also indicate that a Form 14039 was submitted to the IRS, and that a copy was not kept or that the form was not required to be filed
  • A copy of a filed police report related to the IRS identify theft.