IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications

The Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) is available to use with the 2020‒21 FAFSA Form. Additional security and privacy protections have been added to address concerns that data from the tool could be used by identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS DRT remains the fastest, most accurate way to input your tax return information into the FAFSA form.

Getting Your 2018 Tax Return Information For the 2020–21 FAFSA

Applicants filing a 2020-21 FAFSA form must use federal tax information from their 2018 tax returns. They can do this by using the IRS DRT, or by referring to a copy for their 2018 tax return that they have in their possession.

You should always retain a copy of your tax return, either electronically or on paper, and keep it in a secure place.

If you did not keep a copy of your tax return, here are some options:

  1. Access the tax software product you used to prepare and file your 2018 return. You may be able to access your account to download/print a copy.
     
  2. Contact the tax preparer/provider who filed your 2018 return if you used a tax professional.
     
  3. Download your tax transcript (a summary) at Get Transcript Online.  Review the rigorous identity authentication requirements for Secure Access before attempting to register.
     
  4. Use Get Transcript by Mail and a transcript will be mailed to the address on your return within five to 10 days.
     
  5. Call our automated line at 800-908-9946 to order a transcript by mail.

Getting Your Alternative Documentation For IDR Applications

IDR plan applicants must submit alternative documentation of income to their federal loan servicers after they complete and submit the online IDR application. The process for submitting the alternative documentation of income is explained to borrowers as part of the online IDR application. As a general rule, alternative documentation of income consists of copies of pay stubs or most recently filed tax returns.

Additional Resources

For more information about the FAFSA form and IDR process, visit StudentAid.gov. For more information about IRS transcripts, see our Get Transcript FAQs.