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Financial aid basics




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IRS data retrieval

When filing your FAFSA online, be sure to use the IRS data retrieval tool when prompted. This tool automatically pulls in and loads your tax information into your FAFSA. Your tax information is available in 1-2 weeks after filing an e-return with the IRS; 6-8 weeks for paper returns. When you use this tool, you reduce the risk of inputting incorrect information, and it helps ensure your FAFSA is processed as quickly as possible. If you do NOT use the IRS data retrieval tool and your file is selected for verification, you will be required to submit an official IRS tax transcript (NOT a copy of your tax return.) To order a transcript, you must visit link off site or call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946.

Please note: If you send in a copy of your tax return, it will be shredded to protect your personal information. We cannot use it for verification purposes.

But I haven't filed my taxes yet...

If you haven't filed your taxes, or your data isn't yet available using the IRS data retrieval tool, input the information you do have. Then, as soon as you can, go back and correct your FAFSA online, and use the IRS data retrieval tool. Your updated information will be sent to us automatically.

Federal Tax Return Transcripts

How to request your free transcript if you are not eligible to use data retrieval

  • Online
    • Visit and click on "Get Transcript Online.” If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create an IRS account and sign-in. Follow the prompts to print your 2013 tax return transcript.
  • Telephone
    • Call 1-800-908-9946 and follow the prompts to enter the tax filer's information. Select Option 2 to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter the appropriate tax year.
    • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect their Tax Return Transcript to arrive at the address included in their online request within 5-10 business days.
  • Paper form
    • Use IRS Form 4506T-EZ. It can be downloaded at Complete lines 1-4. Use the most current address on file with the IRS.
    • Enter the appropriate tax year.
    • Tax filers must sign and then mail or fax the completed form per instructions.
    • Tax filers can expect to receive their transcript within 5-10 business days.

Who needs to submit a tax return transcript for verification?

We will notify you through your WMU email if you have been selected for verification. If you are selected for verification, you may need to submit a tax return transcript if:

  • you are an independent student who is married, and whose spouse filed separate tax returns
  • you are a dependent student whose married parents filed separate tax returns
  • you or your parent had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year
  • you or your parent did not use the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA, or didn't correct the FAFSA using it
  • information on the FAFSA is changed after it has been imported using the IRS data retrieval tool.
  • you did not use the IRS data retrieval tool when you completed your FAFSA

Transcript fast facts

  • You can request your transcript as soon as the IRS processes your return. The process time for online tax returns is 1-2 weeks, and 6-8 weeks for paper returns.
  • You do not need to sign your tax return transcript.

Amended tax returns

If the filer filed an amended tax return, they will need to submit:

  • Signed copy of the original tax return that was filed with the IRS or an IRS Tax Return Transcript or IRS Record of Account AND
  • A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.

These documents may also be retrieved online at Requests by mail using IRS Form 4506-T may take up to 30 days to receive.

Unusual circumstances

Contact Bronco Express in unusual circumstances, such as you filed a foreign tax return, or you were the victim of identity theft. Call (269) 387-6000, or walk in for help on the lower level of the Bernhard Center.


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Updated: 02/07/2014 3:11 PM

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Student Financial Aid
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5337 USA
269 387-6000