Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

IRS Data Retrieval Tool: The US Department of Education has recently enhanced the FAFSA filing process to allow you and your parents to retrieve tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This Tool will allow you and your parents to upload your filed 2012 federal tax return data directly to your FAFSA. We strongly encourage you to use this tool during the initial filing or when submitting corrections to your 2013-2014 FAFSA.

Please check out our new IRS Data Retrieval Tutorial (PDF)!


You and your parents are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you:

  • Filed your 2012 federal tax return with the IRS.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Have a Federal Student Aid PIN (if you do not have a PIN, you will be given the option to apply for one)

You and your parents are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:

  • Your marital status changed after December 31, 2012.
  • You filed married filing separately.
  • You filed an amended return.
  • You filed a foreign tax return.
  • You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN).
  • The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return.

According to the IRS, this tool cannot be used until 1-2 weeks after electronically filing a tax return and 6-8 weeks after filing paper tax returns.

Please note that signed copies of your 2012 federal tax returns, along with all schedules and W-2 forms, still must be submitted directly to Boston College's Financial Aid Processing Center as part of the financial aid application process.

The Process

Families must actively choose to utilize the data retrieval tool. If they choose to do so, they will be transferred to the Internal Revenue Service web site. There, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. Applicants will need to authenticate their identity before any information is displayed. Tax data will be presented and the applicant will have the option to "Transfer" the tax information to the FAFSA. Transferred data will have a notation —"Transferred from the IRS"

Obtain a Tax Transcript from the IRS

If you and/or your parents are not eligible or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when updating your FAFSA, the US Department of Education requires our office to collect a certified tax transcript processed by the IRS. Please note that parents who are married but filing separately must submit 2 separate IRS transcripts. Transcripts are not required for those filing a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return.

There are three ways to request your tax transcript: by phone, online, or by mail. Please make sure you request a Return Transcript. Do not request an Account Transcript or Record of Account because they cannot be used for financial aid verification purposes. Please be advised that our office cannot verify your financial aid award without a tax transcript.

To obtain a tax return transcript online please follow these steps:

  • Go to
  • Under Tools, click Order a Return or Account Transcript.
  • Click Order a Transcript under Step 3.
  • Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code.
  • Click Continue.
  • Select Return Transcript. (Do not select Account Transcript.)
  • Select Tax Year (i.e., 2012).
  • Click Continue.

To obtain a tax return transcript by phone please follow these steps:

  • Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
  • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security Number and the numbers of their street address. Generally, these will be the numbers of the street address that was listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
  • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter "2012."
  • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested by telephone cannot be sent directly to a third party by the IRS.

To obtain a tax return transcript by mail please follow these steps:

  • Complete Form 4506-TEZ (Request for Transcript of Tax Return).
  • Form 4506-T is available online.
  • Mail or fax the completed IRS Form to the appropriate address (or fax number) provided on page 2 of Form 4506T-EZ.
  • Your transcript(s) will be mailed within 5 to 10 days from the IRS.