Updating FAFSA Information:
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool!

All students are required to update estimated income and tax information on the FAFSA. This ensures that financial aid awards are based on accurate information.  


Students who are selected for verification must have income and tax information verified directly by the IRS. There are two ways to update and verify information:


  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) - This tool allows most FAFSA applicants and parents to retrieve tax data directly from the IRS and transfer the data back to the FAFSA; income and tax information are both updated and verified through this one step.    


  • Manually updating FAFSA information and provide a tax transcript - If income and tax information are manually updated on the FAFSA, information will still need to be verified by obtaining a tax transcript from the IRS and submitting it to the financial aid office. 

Using IRS Data Retrieval is best as it updates and verifies information in one step. The IRS data is available for retrieval 2-3 weeks after filing electronically or after 8-11 weeks if filing by mail (the timeframe is longer for those who owe a payment to the IRS). Here’s how to use the IRS DRT: 


Go to FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov:

  1. Login under “Returning User.” Student name, SSN, and DOB are required. 
  2. Click on “Make FAFSA Corrections, enter the student PIN and create a password.
  3. Go to the “Financial Information” section.
  4. Locate the “Have you completed your IRS income tax return?” question and change the response from “will file” to “already completed.” Filter questions will appear that will determine whether the IRS Data Retrieval can be used. 
  5. If all filter questions can be answered “no”, click on “Link to the IRS” (a parent will have to provide his or her PIN to retrieve parent tax information).
  6. Once in the IRS site, provide the required information and click “Submit.” In order for retrieval to work, the address entered must match the address on file with the IRS exactly (click here if retrieval doesn’t work). Once the retrieved information is displayed, click on the box to enable the “Transfer Now” button. 
  7. Click on the “Transfer Now” button and the information will transfer back to the FAFSA. DO NOT change any of the information that was transferred from the IRS.
  8. Repeat this process for the parent(s) and student if both parties filed a tax return. If one party was not required to file a tax return, be sure that is indicated on the FAFSA.
  9. Once all updates and transfer are complete, sign using applicable PINs and submit the FAFSA. The information will be processed by the federal processing center and sent to all schools listed on the FAFSA.

If IRS Data Retrieval is not working, click here.


Want more information on the IRS DRT or obtaining tax transcripts?


IRS Data Retrieval

This video covers the basics using screen shots to demonstrate how the IRS Data Retrieval process works (12 minutes). 

View PDF of presentation only.


What Went Wrong?

This video provides troubleshooting information when for when the IRS Data Retrieval doesn't work (5 minutes).

View PDF of presentation only.


Obtaining Tax Transcripts

This video demonstrates the options for obtaining a tax transcript (6 minutes).
View PDF of presentation only.



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    • Portland: At the University of Southern Maine, Woodbury Campus Center, on Saturday, 5/30 from 10 AM to 1 PM.