Obtaining an IRS Return Transcript

Here are instructions for using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

Schools are no longer permitted to accept copies of federal tax returns to satisfy verification requirements. If you were selected for verification, you must obtain your tax information directly from the IRS. The two methods for doing this are detailed below. You are strongly encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you are eligible, as it is the most efficient option.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Once you have completed your taxes, wait the appropriate length of time (two weeks if filed electronically and 8 weeks if by mail), then follow these steps:

  1. Go back to www.fafsa.ed.gov, log into student’s FAFSA record and select “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  2. Go to the Financial Information section of the form.
  3. There will be a drop-down menu asking if you have completed your IRS income tax return; if you select "Already Completed," you will be presented with a number of questions to determine if you are eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool. If you answer "None of the above," you will be presented with the option to enter your PIN and link to the IRS. If you do not answer "None of the above" you will need to contact the IRS to order a Tax Return Transcript.
  4. Once you select Link to IRS, you will be taken to the IRS website. On this site, enter the requested information and click “Submit.”
  5. Check the box to the left of the words “Transfer my tax information into the FAFSA,” then click “Transfer Now.”
  6. You should then receive a message “You have successfully transferred your 20xx tax information.”
  7. Be sure to finish going through all the steps and electronically sign (if dependent student, one of your parents also needs to electronically sign) and submit your FAFSA.
  8. You are not finished until you have successfully submitted your FAFSA and received a confirmation number.

IRS Tax Return Transcript

If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can request a Tax Return Transcript by following these steps:

  1. Print a Return Transcript or request a mailed transcript online at www.irs.gov
    1. On the home page, under Tools, select “Get transcript of my tax records.”
    2. Select “Get Transcript Online” to print online, or select “Get Transcript by Mail” to have a paper copy mailed directly to you*
      1. If you have not previously used this website, you will be asked to create an account.
    3. Follow the prompted steps on the IRS website, selecting a Return Transcript for the appropriate filing year (For the 2016-2017 FAFSA, select 2015 tax year)
  2. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (on the automated menu)*:
    1. Enter and verify your Social Security Number
    2. Enter your street address number
    3. Select Option #2 to request a Return Transcript
    4. Enter and verify the year of your needed Return Transcript
      1. For 2016-2017 FAFSA, select “2015 tax year”

*For mailed transcripts: If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online request within 5-10 business days from the time the request was sent*