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Filing a FAFSA for 2019-2020? Here’s what to know.

Posted on July 23, 2019

When filling out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid form), students and parents will need to access 2018 tax information to complete the form.

Instead of digging through filed or boxed 2017 hard copies, consider using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is the fastest, most accurate way to input tax return information into the FAFSA form. It is also accessible directly from within the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Here are some helpful tips for FAFSA applicants from the parents of college students at Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres:

  • Applicants filing a 2019-20 FAFSA must use data from their 2017 tax returns.
  • Even if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, taxpayers should always keep copies of their tax returns — electronically or on paper – in a secure place.

Can’t locate your 2017 tax return and need help?

  • Contact the tax preparer or provider who filed your 2017 return.
  • Download your tax transcript on the IRS site Get Transcript Online. Know you will be asked to verify your identity, so review the identity authentication requirements for Secure Access before attempting to register.
  • You can also ask the IRS for a mailed hard copy of your 2017 return by clicking on Get Transcript by Mail. Know that this process takes about five to10 days.
  • If you can’t wait, you can also try the IRS’s automated line at 800-908-9946 to order a transcript by mail, but be prepared to wait in a phone queue. The IRS is still understaffed.
  • What if you filed an amended tax return? Use Form 1040X, or your adjusted gross income and earned income listed on the revised tax return.

If you have a question we didn’t address, give us a call. We know filling out FAFSA forms can be nerve-racking. We’re happy to help make the process a little smoother for you by answering as many “I can’t figure this out” questions as possible.