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Using the Data Retrieval Tool

The Data Retrieval Tool is an easy way to be able to import required tax data whether it is for an initial FAFSA, or during a correction to meet Verification requirements. Please see the steps below:

  1. Log onto your 2015-16 FAFSA application at www.fafsa.gov

  2. On the Financial Information Tab, update your answer to “Already Completed.” Five options will appear to help you decipher whether or not you will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (see screen shot below).


    NOTE: If you answer YES to any of the questions, you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool at this time.

    Please see the bullets below for instructions on how to proceed.
    • If you answered YES to: "Married Filing Separately",  "Head of Household",  or  "Amended Tax Return (1040X)", you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Instead, you must request a "Tax Return Transcript" from the IRS and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Do not delay! It may take the IRS several weeks to process your request. For information regarding this process, see this FORM.
    • If you answered YES to filing a "Puerto Rican or Foreign Tax Return", please submit copies of those forms to the Financial Aid Office.
    • If you answered YES to filing your "taxes electronically in the last 3 weeks (or by mail in the last 8 weeks)"  your tax information may not be available yet from the IRS. You may need to wait until the IRS Data Retrieval function becomes available to you.  Also, if you owe the IRS any payment of taxes, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be available to you until a few weeks after your payment has been received by the IRS.

  3. If you can answer NO to each of the questions, you should be able to complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Enter your FAFSA pin and click "LINK TO IRS". You will be alerted that you are leaving the FAFSA on the Web. Click OK.


  4. The IRS website will open to a page entitled "Get My Federal Income Tax Information". Enter your filing status and address information exactly as it appears on your 1040 and press "submit". (This tool is very complex and the information needs to match your 1040 precisely! For example, if on the address line of your 1040 you used the “St.” abbreviation, but you typed the word “Street” into this website, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot match you. Check your 1040 and try again.)

  5. If your address was entered correctly, your federal income tax information will populate. Check the box labeled “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” and then click “Transfer Now” (see screen shot below).


  6. Your session with the IRS will close and your information will be transferred into the FAFSA (see screen shot below). Though your information has been transferred successfully into the FAFSA, Biola will not receive the updates unless you continue through to Sign & Submit the FAFSA again. Continue through the FAFSA and complete any blank fields but be careful NOT to change any prepopulated value labeled as “Transferred from the IRS”. If you change any value that is labeled as such, you will be required to complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool again.


  7. Proceed through to the Sign &Submit Tab of the FAFSA and choose "Submit My FAFSA Now" (see screen shot below). This action will send your changes to GSON. You will know your FAFSA has been submitted successfully when you arrive at the Confirmation Page.

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