Automated IRS System Helps College-Bound Students with Financial Aid Application Process
At last, there is hope for college-bound students and their parents that want to make the most of their college experience, including money spent on tuition and time spent on the college financial aid application process. The Internal Revenue Service created a tool that is helping minimize the time spent on the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by automating access to federal tax returns with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool provides the opportunity for applicants to automatically transfer the required tax data onto the FAFSA form.
Here are some tips on using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
- Benefits – The IRS Data Retrieval tool is a secure way to access and transfer tax return information directly onto the FAFSA form, saving time and reducing errors. Also, the increased accuracy reduces the likelihood of being selected for verification by the school’s financial aid office.
- Eligibility Criteria – Taxpayers who wish to use the tool to complete their 2012 FAFSA form must:
- have filed a 2011 tax return;
- possess a valid Social Security Number;
- have a Federal Student Aid PIN (individuals who don’t have a PIN, will be given the option to apply for one through the FAFSA application process);
- have not changed marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.
- Exceptions – If any of the following conditions apply to the student or parents, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used for the 2012 FAFSA application:
- an amended tax return was filed for 2011;
- no federal tax return for 2011 has been filed ;
- the federal tax filing status on the 2011 return is married filing separately; a Puerto Rican or other foreign tax return has been filed.
- Alternatives If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used and if the college requests verification documentation, it may be necessary to obtain an official transcript from the IRS.
In addition to helping reduce the time and effort involved in completing and submitting the FAFSA form through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the IRS offers money-saving information to college students and their parents. Important information regarding tax credits and deductions for qualifying tuition, materials and fees is available at the IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center and in IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education both of which are available at IRS.gov. If you have any questions regarding the use of this tool, the FAFSA application process, or need a copy of your return that we have prepared, please contact us.