IRS Data Retrieval Process

The Data Retrieval Tool is a feature of the FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) that allows financial aid applicants and their parents to retrieve and transfer, from the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), certain income and information reported on their federal income tax returns. This capability ensures the most accurate information is reported on the applicant’s FAFSA.

Important Changes to the Data Retrieval Process

  • All FOTW applicants who indicate they have filed a federal tax return will be directed to use the IRS DRT.
  • FOTW applicants and parents who indicate they will file a federal tax return will receive an email directing them to use the IRS DRT to update their income information once they have filed their federal tax return.
  • Applicants selected for the federal verification process will be strongly encouraged to use the IRS DRT. Those who refuse, or who are not eligible to use the DRT will be required to send an IRS tax return transcript to the University which may result in a processing delay.

Benefits of Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

  • Applicants can complete their FAFSA more easily and accurately.
  • Financial aid awards will be more accurate.
  • Applicants selected for Federal Verification can use the tool to verify their income information, avoiding processing delays.

Eligibility for using the IRS DRT

If you meet any of the criteria below, you will not be able to utilize the IRS DRT and, therefore, must manually enter your tax return information:

  • Tax filer's filing status is 'Married Filing Separately'
  • Tax filer's filing status is 'Head of Household' and you are married
  • Applicants whose marital status has changed as of January 1 for the tax year filed for the FAFSA
  • Tax filer has filed an amended return
  • Tax filer files a foreign return in lieu of federal return
  • Tax filer files a return for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in lieu of federal return
  • Tax filer recently filed federal return (see below for timing)
  • Applicants who are neither eligible nor required to file a federal tax return for the tax year for the FAFSA

Availability of Data from the IRS

To allow time for data to be available from the IRS, applicants must wait the appropriate amount of time before being able to use the IRS DRT on the FAFSA. The IRS has suggested the following, based on your tax filing method:

  • Electronic tax filers: within 2 weeks of filing taxes
  • Paper tax filers: within 6 to 8 weeks of filing taxes

IRS DRT and Federal Verification

If your FAFSA is selected for Federal verification, the requirement for verifying your and your parents’ (if applicable) tax return information will be satisfied if you utilized the IRS DRT. Please note that if you make any updates to your FAFSA's tax information once the IRS DRT has been used, you will be required to support your changes to us by sending a federal tax return transcript. We advise applicants and parents to contact the One Stop (OneStop@MiamiOH.edu or call 513-529-0001) with any questions in regard to reporting changes in income instead of making changes to their FAFSA once the IRS DRT has been used.

Please do not send us your tax transcripts unless you have been selected for Federal verification and you are unable to use the IRS DRT. Read more regarding the federal verification process.

If you initially filed your FAFSA and chose not to use the IRS DRT, you can follow these steps to utilize the IRS DRT.

As early as two weeks after filing taxes electronically (or six to eight weeks if filing paper), the applicant should be able utilize the IRS DRT.

  1. Go to FAFSA.gov and select “Login.”
  2. Enter your FSA Username and Password and select “Next.”
  3. Select “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  4. Select the "Financial Information" tab.

Parent information is displayed first (if student is dependent).

  1. Select ‘Already Completed’ from the drop-down box for the question ‘Have your parents completed their IRS income tax return or another tax return?’
  2. Answer the filter questions
  3. If the parent can answer ‘None of the Above’, the parent must first select which parent they are and then enter his/her FSA PIN to authorize accessing the IRS data.
  4. Select the ‘LINK TO IRS’ button to access the IRS DRT and transfer the tax information to the FAFSA.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 for Student Tax Information (if a tax filer).
  6. Continue selecting the ‘Next’ arrow at the bottom of the page until you reach the ‘Sign & Submit’ page and complete final steps to submitting correction.

Miami University will receive an updated Student Aid Report to notify us that the IRS DRT was used. For applicants selected for federal verification, this should satisfy the IRS tax documentation requirement.