Give Now

Verification Process

Using the Retrieval Tool

How it works

  1. Logon to FAFSA.ed.gov by using your Dept. of Education issued PIN (if you have previously completed the FAFSA and are making a correction, click on "Make FAFSA Correction").
  2. If it's your first time filling out the FAFSA, complete each section appropriately until you reach the Student Tax Information and/or Parent Tax Information section(s). If you're doing a FAFSA Correction, navigate directly to the Student Tax Information/Parent Tax Information section, depending on whose data needs to be transferred.
  3. Answer the eligibility questions (all responses must be "Yes" in order for the Retrieval Tool to display as an option).
  4. Click the blue 'Link to IRS' button
  5. Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site. 
  6. On the IRS Web site, enter the requested identifying information (name, SSN, etc.).
    1. This information must match what you reported on your tax form. For example, if you entered "Drive" rather than "Dr." in the address line, or "Apt." instead of "#", the site won't be able to match your data.
  7. Once the IRS has validated your identity, your IRS tax information will display.
    1. You can either transfer your information from the IRS, or choose to return to FAFSA on the Web from the IRS Web site
    2. If you do not transfer your information or choose not to return from the IRS Web site, you will have to login to open your saved FAFSA.
  8. If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS."
  9. DO NOT change any of the data that was transferred. (The one exception is the IRA or pension Rollovers. Please see the FAQ section for further details).
  10. VERY IMPORTANT: In order for SMU to receive the transferred tax data, you must proceed to the end of the application and click the Sign and Submit button.
  11. SMU will receive the corrected FAFSA record within 2 business days.

Notes: you will see a message about using the IRS Retrieval Tool on the confirmation page of the FAFSA on the Web if:

  • you are eligible and choose not to transfer IRS tax information
  • you are not eligible only because you reported estimated data on your FAFSA due to your tax data not being available

Here's what it looks like

The student and/or parent must have a Federal Student Aid pin to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. For 2012-2013 FAFSA, a pin can be obtained in real time.

If you don't use the Retrieval Tool, you will have to enter income information manually.

This is what you'll see when leaving FAFSA on the Web and entering the secure IRS.gov site

Once at the IRS portal, applicant will have to authenticate themselves to access information.

After viewing tax information, applicant has the option to transfer it to the the FAFSA, or decline.

If the information is not transferred, there's a higher chance for Verification selection, and student must submit the "IRS Data Retrieval Tool Not Utilized" form to SMU.

You have not used the Retrieval Tool successfully until you are transferred from the IRS website back into the FAFSA website and see this confirmation message.