Preparing for college often means applying for student loans to pay for it as well. Every year students struggle and stress while trying to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Completing your student financial aid application is now easier than ever. Department of Education/Federal Student Aid, mandated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has made the FAFSA process simpler by partnering with the IRS to provide tax data needed to complete the FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) via the IRS’ Federal Student Aid-Datashare tool.
During the application process, you or dependent uses a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the optional tool. After additional authentication is achieved, the tool retrieves your tax data and displays it on your web browser. You can then choose to skip the use of the tool or securely transfer the tax data into the FOTW and print it for future use. You can save time completing the financial aid application by using this innovative data retrieval tool.
Who can use it? If you or your dependent meet the following criteria, you’ll be given the option to retrieve, display and transfer your IRS tax information:
• If you filed a 2010 tax return
• If you have a valid Social Security Number
• If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN. If you do not have a PIN, you will be given the option to apply for one
• If your marital status has not changed since Dec. 31, 2010.
Who should not use it? If any of the following conditions apply to you or your dependent, you should not use this tool:
• If you filed an amended federal tax return for 2009 or 2010
• If you did not file a federal IRS tax return for 2009 or 2010
• If your 2009 or 2010 IRS tax filing status is married filing separately
• If you filed both a federal IRS tax return and a foreign return
How does the FSA-D tool work with FAFSA on the Web?
If you choose to use the tool to gain access to tax information, you should follow these steps:
• Enter your PIN or apply for a PIN (If one was not previously secured).
• Click on “Link to IRS” to begin.
• Authenticated data will be displayed; however, you will need to provide additional information to further validate your identity. You must enter the information exactly as it appears on your prior year tax return.
• Once authenticated, the previous year tax return data will be displayed, along with the corresponding FAFSA question numbers. You will then be given the option to transfer the data or return to the FAFSA without transferring the data.
• If you select the “Transfer” option, the tax information provided will populate to the appropriate FAFSA question.
• After the FAFSA is populated, the IRS session will end and you will be returned to the FOTW.
• Before submitting your information, please be sure to print the federal tax information page for your records.
FAFSA on the Web and the complimentary FSA-D application are available at www.fafsa.gov in both English and Spanish-language versions. Additional information and frequently asked questions about the IRS’ FSA-D tool can be found at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/linktoirs_faq.htm.
Completing the FAFSA no longer has to be stressful or time-consuming. Preparing for college is just a click away. Go online to www.fafsa.gov and complete your FAFSA today!