Forms & Information

FAFSA Tools & Info

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

  1. It's the easiest and fastest way to provide your tax data.
  2. It's the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  3. You will not need to provide a copy of your or your parents' tax returns to your college.

Students or parents who are married and filed as Married Filing Separately, are married and filed as Head of Household, filed an amended tax return, or filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and will need to enter their tax return information manually.

Additionally, students or parents who filed their tax returns electronically within the last three weeks, or through the mail within the last eight weeks, might need to either enter their tax return information manually or return at a later date to transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA, as their tax return information might not be available for transfer from the IRS.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, then click the Link To IRS button to transfer your tax return information from the IRS Web site into your FAFSA. (Note: If you previously transferred your tax return information from the IRS, or you indicate that you filed your tax return electronically within the last three weeks or through the mail within the last eight weeks, then the Link To IRS button displays once you click the "View option to link to the IRS" hyperlink.)
If you are ineligible or otherwise choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to retrieve tax information, your college may require a copy of your IRS Tax Transcript (or your parents' IRS Tax Transcript, if you are a dependent student).

Steps to Using the IRS Data Retrieval Process

  1. Log in to www.fafsa.ed.gov and click on Start A New FAFSA or if you are a returning user click Login
  2. After entering demographic information you will be asked if you (or your parents) have filed your 2015 taxes. If so (and it has not been within three weeks), follow the next steps:
    1. Enter your PIN* and click Link To IRS
      *You will not be asked to enter your PIN if you entered a PIN to begin your FAFSA.
    2. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site.
    3. On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information exactly as it appears on your tax return.
    4. Once the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display. You can either transfer your information from the IRS, or choose to return to FAFSA on the Web from the IRS Web site. If you do not transfer your information or choose not to return from the IRS Web site, you will have to login to open your saved FAFSA.
    5. If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS.
  3. Complete your FAFSA as directed and submit

For more information visit University of California, Santa Barbara's 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA for step-by-step video instruction.