How to Get Your Tax Information

  1. Federal Income Tax Transcripts may be requested from the IRS via their “Get Transcript” website, or
  2. Tax data may also be transferred electronically directly from the IRS to the FAFSA via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool available in the FAFSA.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents access to their Federal Tax Return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Students and parents may be eligible to transfer IRS data directly onto their FAFSA. If eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

  • It’s the fastest and easiest way to provide tax information to Colorado State University.
  • You don’t have to manually fill in Federal Tax Return data on your FAFSA.
  • It’s the best way of ensuring your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  • It streamlines the verification process.  For FAFSA applications that are selected for verification, retrieval of your Federal Tax Return information to update the FAFSA application is the most efficient and fastest way to provide tax information.

How does the IRS Data Retrieval Tool work?

Students and parents will be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the Financial Information portion of the FAFSA application. Please note, there are two separate financial information sections on the FAFSA for dependent students. Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Parent Financial Information section.

  • Upon selecting the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, users will be directed to the IRS website.
  • Users will then need to authenticate their identity before any personal information is displayed or transferred onto the FAFSA application.
  • After viewing tax data, you will then have the option to “Transfer” the tax information directly to the FAFSA application.

Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Applicants who are completing an initial FAFSA, completing a renewal FAFSA or making corrections to their initial FAFSA and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must have a valid FSA ID when completing the FAFSA.
  • Must have valid Social Security Number(s).
  • Must have filed a Federal Income Tax Return electronically for the respective year requested at least 2-3 weeks prior to filing out the FAFSA (8-11 weeks if Federal Income Tax Returns were mailed).
  • Must have an unchanged marital status as of December 31, of the previous year.

Who can NOT or should NOT use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Students or parents who:

  • Have filed an amended  tax return
  • Are married filing separately
  • Are married but filed as head of household
  • Filed a Puerto Rican, foreign tax return, or an IRS Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ
  • Anyone who provided all zeros for Social Security Numbers on tax returns
  • The parents’ marital status on FAFSA is “Unmarried and both legal parents living together”

What if I am selected for verification and do not use or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If you did not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer Federal Tax Return information to your FAFSA, you will need to submit a signed copy of your Federal Income Tax Return (1040) or obtain an official Federal Income Tax Transcript from the IRS.

Tax filers can request Federal Tax Transcript information free of charge by:

  1. Logging onto the IRS website service Get Transcript. Click on the “Get Transcript by Mail”
  2. Telephone request by calling 1-800-908-9946
  3. Completing a paper request form using IRS Form 4506

What happens if I haven't filed my taxes yet or I owe money to the IRS?

Even if you have not completed your Federal Tax Returns, you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates.

Once your Federal Income Tax Returns are filed, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the FAFSA by logging back onto your FAFSA using your FSA ID. Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the student financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the parent financial information section. If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to submit and official IRS Tax Return Transcript to our office or signed copy of your tax return.

IRS transcript availability can be found on the IRS website.  The estimated time frames when taxes will be available are based on the method used to file your return and whether you have a refund or or balance due.

What if I file a IRS form 4868 "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns?

Please contact us for next steps if this applies to you.

What if I file an amended tax return changing the information I originally submitted to the IRS and to Colorado State University?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will only transfer information from the originally filed Federal income tax return and NOT an amended income tax return. If an amended tax return was submitted to the Internal Revenue Service, Colorado State University will need the following information:

  • signed individual taxpayer copy of IRS form 1040X “Amended” U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and
  • The original Federal Tax Return Transcript filed with the IRS

What happens if I was a victim of IRS identity Theft and cannot obtain a current Tax Return Transcript?

Tax filers, who because of IRS identity theft are denied an IRS Tax Return Transcript, can contact the  Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at toll-free number at 800-908-4490 or go to the ID theft website on IRS.GOV. If you are a victim of identity theft and Colorado State University requests your tax return transcripts, we can accept the following two forms of documentation in place of the tax return transcript to complete your file:

  • An alternate paper tax return transcript called a TRDBV (Transcript Database View).  It will look different from the regular IRS Tax Return Transcript and,
  • Form 14039 (Identity Theft Affidavit)
  • Those who cannot obtain a TRDBV transcript may instead submit another official IRS transcript or equivalent IRS document if it includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified.

What if I did not file taxes for the tax year requested on the FAFSA?

If you did not file and indicated so on your FAFSA, we will ask you to submit a Verification of Income Information for Nontax Filers as part of the verification process. We may also request a Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS.