The Office of Financial Aid will only accept Federal Tax Return information received directly from the Internal Revenue Service. We will not accept individual taxpayer copies of tax returns or that of a paid tax preparer.
Federal Income Tax Transcripts may be requested from the IRS via their "Get Transcript" website. Tax data may also be transferred electronically directly from the IRS to the FAFSA via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool available when completing the FAFSA.
What is 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 who have filed their current year taxes will be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the Financial Information portion of the FAFSA application. This option is available approximately 2 weeks after electronically filing Federal Income Tax returns and 8 weeks after mailing Federal Income Tax returns.
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 current year Federal Income Tax Return electronically 2-3 weeks prior to filing out the FAFSA or 8-11 weeks if Federal Income Tax Returns were mailed, prior to filling out the FAFSA.
- 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 for the current tax year.
- Are married filing separately for the current tax year.
- Filed a foreign tax return for the current tax year.
- Anyone who provided all zeros for Social Security Numbers on tax returns.
- Have a marital status date of January 1, of the current tax year or later.
When will I be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
FAFSA on the web is available to complete January 1st of each year.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available February 1st of each year.
Tax return data is available through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within 2-3 weeks after electronic tax filing or 8-11 weeks after paper tax filing.
Frequently asked tax questions
What happens 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 obtain an official Federal Income Tax Transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office. If you are a dependent student, we will also need a copy of your parent(s) Federal Income Tax Transcript.
Tax filers can request Federal Tax Transcript information free of charge by:
- Logging onto the IRS website service Get Transcript. Click on the "Get Transcript by Mail"
- Telephone request by calling 1-800-908-9946
- Completing a paper request form using IRS Form 4506
What happens if I haven't filed my current year taxes yet or I owe money to the IRS?
Even if you have not completed your current year Federal Tax Returns, you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates.
Once current year 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.
Current year 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 happens if I file a IRS form 4868 "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns?
Even if you have not completed your current year Federal Tax Returns, you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates. If your file is selected for verification, you will be asked to provide the following information to the Office of Financial Aid to continue the processing of your financial aid:
A copy of your current year IRS Form 4868, ‘‘Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns.’’ It must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service, and
Copies of current tax year IRS W–2 forms from each place of employment. If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s approximate earnings for the tax year you are filing an extension.
Once the tax extension information and earnings statements are reviewed, we will only offer student loans, if eligible. Grant eligibility will be re-evaluated once we receive your filed Federal Tax Return Transcript(s) or tax information via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool available on the student FAFSA.
What happens 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:
- A 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.