IRS Tax Transcript Frequently Asked Questions

Guidance from the Department of Education and the IRS suggests that if you file your 2015 taxes electronically and have any owed taxes paid in full at the time of submission or are due a refund, IRS Tax Return Transcripts are generally available 2 - 3 weeks after your return has been processed.

If you filed electronically, but do not pay in full any taxes due, your tax return will not be processed until mid-May 2016 and you usually can request your IRS Tax Return Transcript 2 - 3 weeks after that point.

Those that file a paper return will unfortunately need to wait even longer to make the request for their tax return transcript. If you expect a refund or owe no additional taxes, you can request your transcript 8 - 11 weeks after your tax return has been submitted and received. If you owe any amount, even if it is paid in full at the time your return is submitted, your tax return will not be processed until June 2016 and you will not be able to request your transcript until 2 - 3 weeks after that point.

IRS Data Retrieval & Tax Return Transcript Availability Chart


» Will UW-Madison run out of financial aid funds if my tax return transcript isn’t turned in by a certain date?
While there is no official deadline for submitting the tax return transcript (except to have it submitted one month prior to the term in which you want aid), some fund sources are limited The sooner it is submitted the better. Federal Pell Grant and Direct Loans are always available.
» The IRS won’t process my transcript until June because I owe taxes; will this negatively affect my student’s aid package?
In most cases as long as you get the tax return transcript in as soon as you are able to access it in June, it is not likely to negatively impact your student’s aid package. Also see FAQ directly above this one.
» My transcript will not be available until after May 1, 2016; how will I make my admissions decision?
We recommend that you use the Net Price/Award Calculator. The link is located to your right. As long as the information you provide is accurate, it should give you a close estimate of what the student’s aid package will look like.
» Can you accept a copy of my federal tax return?
No. Federal regulations require a copy of the federal tax return transcript.
» Can I appeal turning in the transcript?
No. There is no appeal process.
» What if I will file a Form 4868 Tax Extension?
  1.  Submit copy of UW-Madison's Student or Parent Tax Extension Form.
  2. Submit a copy of your Form 4868 Tax Extension that you filed with the IRS before October 15th, 2016.
  3. Include copies of W-2’s from every source of employment before October 15th, 2016. 
  4. Provide a SIGNED and DATED draft of your 2015 Federal Income Tax Return, IRS Form 1040 before October 15th, 2016.

    After we offer a temporary tax extension financial aid award, you will still need to provide our office with a copy of your 2015 Tax Return Transcript no later than November 17, 2016. At which point, we will verify the 16-17 FAFSA and will reevaluate your aid eligibility based on the Tax Return Transcript documentation. A spring term financial aid disbursement hold will remain on spring funding until the 16-17 FAFSA can be verified using the 2015 Tax Return Transcript.  

    CAUTION: If we need to revise your 16-17 FAFSA based on 2015 Tax Return Transcript information, our office might be required to revise the financial aid award to accurately reflect 2016 tax information.  This could mean  financial eligibility could change requiring immediate repayment of 2016-17 grants or loans you already received.

    » Do you recommend that we have the IRS send the transcript directly to UW-Madison?
    No. You should obtain the transcript, make a copy, send that to us and keep the original for yourself.
    » I am having difficulties ordering a second transcript, what can I do?
    Always make copies so that you do not need to order multiples. From what we understand you may need to wait 2-3 weeks between orders. Contact the IRS with questions.
    » I am having difficulties ordering a transcript because my address changed; what can I do?
    Per the IRS website, complete and send Form 4506-T and include any and all recent addresses.
    » Why are my children listed as Step-Children for Earned Income Credit on my transcript? Will this matter?
    It will not matter for financial aid eligibility. From what we understand, much of this is an IRS mistake.
    » I cannot get through to the IRS and am having difficulties ordering a tax transcript; can you contact them for me?
    Unfortunately our office cannot call, email, or contact the IRS on your behalf. Visit the IRS website for additional contact information.
    » I cannot seem to get the online request to work and I cannot seem to get the phone request to work; how can I order a federal tax transcript?
    If you are having difficulty with the online and phone ordering, we recommend completing Form 4506-T to submit a written request for the transcript.
    » I will not file a federal tax return due to my level of earned income; do I still need a tax transcript?
    No. If you did not file a tax return you will not have a tax return transcript. Submit the UW-Madison Parent Income Form (if dependent) and Student Income Form and attach any W-2s.
    » Can you accept a copy of screen prints from my local IRS office? It has the IRS stamp on it; is this acceptable?
    No. Federal regulations prohibit us from accepting screen prints. You must submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript no exceptions.
    What if I can’t get a transcript because I am a victim of identity theft?

    Students and parents who are victims of identity theft should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. 


    More information can be found on the IRS Identity Protection Website

    If you are not able to obtain a copy of your tax transcript because of identity theft you should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.