College-bound students and their parents typically want to make every dollar and every minute of the college experience count, including money spent on tuition and time spent on the college financial aid application process. The Internal Revenue Service is helping minimize the time spent completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) formby automating access to federal tax returns with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool provides the opportunity for applicants to automatically transfer the required tax data onto the FAFSA form.
Here are some tips on using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
- Benefits: The IRS Data Retrieval tool is an easy and secure way to access and transfer tax return information directly onto the FAFSA form, saving time and improving accuracy. The increased accuracy reduces the likelihood of being selected for verification by the school’s financial aid office.
- Eligibility Criteria: Taxpayers who wish to use the tool to complete their 2012 FAFSA form must
- have filed a 2011 tax return;
- possess a valid Social Security Number;
- have a Federal Student Aid PIN (individuals who do not have a PIN will have the option to apply for one through the FAFSA application process); and
- not have changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.
- Exceptions: If any of the following conditions apply to the student or parents, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used for the 2012 FAFSA application:
- an amended tax return was filed for 2011;
- no federal tax return for 2011 has been filed;
- the federal tax filing status on the 2011 return is married filing separately; a Puerto Rican or other foreign tax return has been filed.
- Alternatives: If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used, and if the college requests verification documentation, it may be necessary to obtain an official transcript from the IRS. To order tax return or tax account transcripts, visit www.irs.gov and select Order a Transcript or call the Transcript toll-free line at 1-800-908-9946.
If you need assistance planning for your child’s education, please give this office a call.