Mapping Your Future: The easy way to complete the financial information on the FAFSA

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The easy way to complete the financial information on the FAFSA

By Catherine Mueller

October 15, 2020

If you would rather not go through financial documents or manually enter information on a form, then maybe you might be the kind of person who should use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool enables students and their parents to transfer data from their income tax returns into the FAFSA, which makes completing the FAFSA a lot faster. It also reduces errors and lessens the chance that the student will be selected for verification.

It is recommended that parents or students have their 2019 tax return with them when using the Data Retrieval Tool. Although the financial information from the tax return will not be entered manually, the address entered on the FAFSA needs to match exactly what is on the tax return in order for the Data Retrieval Tool to work. For example, if a student or parent spelled out street on a tax return, they need to do the same on the Data Retrieval Tool.

Most students and parents who filed a tax return are eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool on the 2021-22 FAFSA if they have already filed their 2019 taxes.