Clients who are applying for financial aid for their college-aged children often ask us for help in completing their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is used to determine the family’s financial need and includes information from the tax return.
The IRS now has a Data Retrieval Tool http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/help/irshlp9.htm that enables a parent or student to access and transfer their tax return information directly to the FAFSA. Using this tool will ensure the FAFSA has accurate information and also means a copy of the tax return will not have to be submitted.
The tool is available on the FAFSA website. If the student or parents qualify, they will be given the opportunity to retrieve, display and transfer their federal tax information. To qualify, one must have a valid Social Security Number, filed a current (i.e. 2011) tax return and not have changed their marital status since December 31 of that tax year.
A very handy Help tool is also available on the FAFSA website. I have provided all the necessary links (in blue) - Just click on them and it will take you there.