Students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form can now skip the time consuming process of copying their tax data onto the form.

Similar to scan-and-populate programs used by professional tax return preparers, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool automatically transfers tax data onto the FAFSA form. 

Use of the tool not only saves time, but its increased accuracy reduces the likelihood of being selected for verification by the school’s financial aid office.

To use the tool, the applicant must have filed a 2011 tax return, possess a valid Social Security number, have a Federal Student Aid PIN, and have not changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.

The tool cannot be used for the 2012 FAFSA application if an amended tax return was filed for 2011; no federal tax return for 2011 was filed; 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.

If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used and if the college requests verification documentation, it may be necessary to obtain an official transcript form the IRS.  To order this, visit www.irs.gov and select Order a Transcript or call the toll-free line at (800) 908-9946.

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