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Automated IRS System Helps College Bound Students with Financial Aid Application Process

IRS Special Edition Tax Tip, 2012-12, August 15, 2012

College-bound students and their parents sometimes face last minute requests to complete or provide additional information for financial aid applications.  

The Internal Revenue Service wants to help by minimizing time spent on the completion of the Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
By using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, applicants can automatically transfer required tax data from their federal tax returns directly to their FAFSA form.

This IRS tool is a free, easy and secure way to access and transfer tax return information onto the FAFSA form. Using the tool saves time, improves accuracy and may
reduce the likelihood of the school’s financial aid office requesting that you verify the information.

Here are some tips on using the IRS DRT:

  • Eligibility Criteria  To use the IRS DRT  to complete their  2012 -2013 FAFSA form, taxpayers must: 
    •  have filed a federal 2011 tax return,
    •  possess a valid Social Security Number,
    •  have a Federal Student Aid PIN (individuals who don’t have a PIN will be given the option to apply for one through the FAFSA application process), and
    • have not changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Exceptions  If any of the following conditions apply to the student or parents, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used for the 2012 FAFSA application:
    • amended tax return was filed for 2011,
    • no federal tax return was filed for 2011,
    • the federal tax filing status on the 2011 return is married filing separately or
    • a Puerto Rican or other foreign tax return has been filed.
    • Applicants who cannot use the IRS DRT to meet college requests for verification, may need to obtain an official transcript from the IRS. Transcripts are not available
      until the IRS has processed the related tax return. To order tax return or tax account transcripts, visit IRS.gov and select "Order a Transcript" or call the toll-free
      Transcript line at 1-800-908-9946.

In addition, the IRS offers money-saving information for college students and their parents about tax credits and deductions for qualifying tuition, materials and fees.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 06-Jun-2013