Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Verification Process

undergraduate students

Please note: Some of these files are Adobe Acrobat® (PDF) formatted files. To view them, you will need to download the free Adobe Acrobat file reader.



IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access their IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA.

We strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) during the initial filing of your FAFSA. This will allow you to upload 2016 federal tax return data directly to your FAFSA application. 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. In order to enhance the security and privacy of personal data transferred into the FAFSA from the IRS, the 2018–2019 IRS Data Retrieval tool will encrypt the student applicant and parent transferred tax data and hide it from view on both the IRS DRT website and on the FAFSA web pages. The words “Transferred from the IRS” will display in the data entry fields throughout the FAFSA form and on the Student Aid Report (SAR). Because the transferred information is not displayed, applicants and parents will be unable to make any corrections to the IRS DRT transferred items on the FAFSA before or after submission. 

Please check out our IRS Data Retrieval Tutorial. (PDF)


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

  • Filed your 2016 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, 2016.
  • 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 3 weeks after electronically filing a tax return and 11 weeks after filing paper tax returns.

Obtain a Tax Transcript from the IRS

If your FAFSA is selected for Verification and 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.

You can request your tax transcript: by phone to be mailed, online to be mailed, online for an immediate PDF copy, or by submitting a form to the IRS to be mailed. 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.

The IRS now allows you to request your tax transcript online and receive it immediately as a PDF file. Due to the sensitivity of the information, you will need to create a secure account with the IRS, which will take several minutes, but you will get your transcript immediately rather than waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

To obtain an immediate PDF copy of a tax return transcript online please follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Under Tools, select “Get Transcript of Your Tax Records.”
  3. Select “Get Transcript Online” and click “OK.”
  4. If you haven’t created an account already, select “Create an account.” If you have already created an account, log in and skip to item 9.
  5. Enter your name and email address and click “Send email confirmation code.” Keep the screen open. Your confirmation code will be emailed to you. You must use it within 30 minutes.
  6. Enter your confirmation code and click “Verify Email Confirmation Code.”
  7. Complete the online form with your information and click “Continue.” On the next screen, complete the information to verify your identity.
  8. On the next page, choose your security and login information and click “Submit.”
  9. On the “Get Transcript” page, select “Higher Education/Student Aid” as your reason for requesting the tax return transcript, which will provide you with a free transcript. Select the tax year for your tax return transcript (Do not select Account Transcript).
  10. Your tax return transcript will appear as a PDF. If you have pop-ups disabled, you may need to enable them for the IRS site for your transcript to appear. Because your transcript contains your social security number and personal information, we do not recommend emailing it because email is not secure. Please fax, mail or drop the transcript off at our office.

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

  1. Go to
  2. Under Tools, select “Get Transcript of Your Tax Records.”
  3. Select “Get Transcript by Mail” and click “OK.”
  4. Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Select Return Transcript. (Do not select Account Transcript.)
  7. Select Tax Year (i.e., 2016).
  8. Click Continue.

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

  1. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
  2. 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.
  3. Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter "2016."
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

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

If you did not file a 2016 federal tax return, you will need to provide an IRS Verification of Non-Filing letter. Non-Tax filers can request an IRS Verification of Non-filing letter from the IRS in one of three ways:

  1. Online request at You can select the 2016 Verification of Non-filing letter under the “Get a Tax Transcript” tool.
  2. Telephone request by calling the IRS at 800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
  3. Complete and mail IRS form 4506-T

The IRS Verification of Non-Filing letter is required:

  • For a dependent student—from each parent who did not file a tax return.
  • For an independent student—from the student and/or spouse who did not file a tax return.

If you have questions about the tax return transcript process, please review the IRS Get Transcript Frequently Asked Questions or call the IRS Tax Help line for individuals at 800-829-1040.