Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Home / Apply for Aid / Federal Verification / IRS Data Retrieval Tool / IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Please note that at this time the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable. You may still fill out and submit your FAFSA by manually entering your tax information. Please note that you should be using your 2015 income tax information.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to electronically transfer federal tax return information directly to the FAFSA.

We recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for several reasons:

  • It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data, saving time and improving accuracy.
  • It is a secure way to access and transfer tax return information directly to the FAFSA.
  • Using the Tool is the fastest way to confirm your filed tax information for the purposes of federal verification.

How to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

  • Log in to your 2017-2018 FAFSA, or start a new FAFSA at
  • In the Financial Information section of the FAFSA, you will see a “Link to IRS” button, if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT.
    • Each taxpayer will need to have indicated that they have “Already Completed” a 2015 Tax Return in order to be shown the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • Click the “Link to IRS” button and log in to the IRS to retrieve your tax return information.
    • In order to log in to the IRS website, the information that you use to register (name, SSN, address) must exactly match what the IRS has on file for your family. It will be helpful to have your 2015 tax return on hand to insure that the information will match.
  • Review your tax return information, and see the tax data that will be transferred into your FAFSA.
  • Check the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” box, and click the “Transfer Now” button.
  • Review your federal tax return information that has been transferred into the data fields on your FAFSA.
    • Any data successfully transferred to the FAFSA will have “Transferred from the IRS” noted next to it.
  • Please remember to double-check the income information that FAFSA requests, which has not been transferred via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This includes pre-tax contributions to retirement accounts (W2 Box 12 Code D, E ,F, G, H and S); housing benefits provided by employer; other untaxed income; etc.
  • Submit/re-submit the FAFSA. It takes 3-5 business days for a FAFSA transaction to process.

Related FAQs

When will I be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

You will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you have indicated that you have not yet filed or will not file a 2015 tax return; if you filed a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return; if you filed an amended tax return (1040X); if you filed a tax return using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN); or if you indicated on the FAFSA that you are married but filed separately from your spouse (Married, Filing Separately; or Head of Household).

What if I cannot access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If you are having trouble accessing the system, please contact the IRS directly.