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

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Update June 2, 2017: U.S. Department of Education: Data Retrieval Tool Available for Income-Driven Repayment Plan Application; Extra Security Protections Now Allow Borrowers To Automatically Transfer Tax Return Information into Repayment Applications

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is now available for borrowers applying for an income-driven repayment plan. New encryption protections have been added to the Data Retrieval Tool to further protect taxpayer information. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will return Oct. 1, 2017, on the online 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.

Update April 7, 2017: See Also: Questions and Answers: Mailings about suspicious activity related to the DRT and FAFSA

Update March 30, 2017: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Statement‎ about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

You must have information from your tax return in order to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or apply for an income-driven repayment plan.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) used to access your tax information for the FAFSA and income-driven repayment (IDR) plan applications is currently unavailable.

This does not limit an individual’s ability to apply for aid or an IDR plan. Applicants can manually provide their tax return information.  The online FAFSA and IDR applications remain operational, and applicants can continue filing the FAFSA or applying for an IDR plan as they normally would.

Getting Your 2015 Tax Return Information For the 2016–17 and 2017–18 FAFSA

Applicants filing a 2016–17 or 2017–18 FAFSA must use data from their 2015 tax returns.

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 2015 return.  You may be able to access your account to download/print a copy.
    2. Contact the tax preparer/provider who filed your 2015 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.

If you filed an amended tax return, Form 1040X, you should use the adjusted gross income and earned income listed on your revised tax return.

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 and IDR process, see www.studentaid.gov. For more information about IRS transcripts, see our Get Transcript FAQs.

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 02-Jun-2017