Financial Information on the FAFSA

What do I do when my life now doesn’t match the old tax returns I am using?

This is big question for many students–especially for those with families who are struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAFSA asks for two-year-old tax information and current family information. Many things may have changed since those taxes were filed. Answer the questions the FAFSA is asking using your 2021 tax returns. Then talk to a financial aid officer at the college you want to attend. They can adjust your aid, if needed.

What if I don’t see a link to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

You may not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You will be asked some questions at the beginning of the FAFSA to determine if the IRS tool is right for you. In some cases, it won’t be. If the FAFSA does not offer you a link to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, simply answer the questions it asks using information provided by your parents.

What if my parents don’t want to share their financial information?

Many parents feel their income information is private. Others worry that by filling out the form, the government will require them to pay for college. Assure them that their information is safe and private and there are no strings attached. You can also ask an adult they respect to convince them that the FAFSA is critical to your college future.

What if my parents don’t have a U.S. tax return?

Many people don’t get tax documents from their employers or file U.S. tax returns. This may be true of parents who work in other countries, or parents who work in informal arrangements. The FAFSA still needs family income information. Follow the suggestions online. If you need additional advice, call the FAFSA hotline.

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