Internal Revenue Service

IRS Removed Data Retrieval Tool From FAFSA Website After Suspicious Activity

The IRS removed a vital tool from the federal financial aid application website due to suspicious activity, a congressman confirmed Wednesday.

The IRS removed the data retrieval tool from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website without warning March 3, News4 reported Tuesday. The tool locates all the tax information students need for the application.

The link to the tool wasn't removed from the FAFSA site, causing another problem: Applicants clicking on it are kicked out of the application and forced to start over again.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) spoke to the IRS about the issue Wednesday.

The IRS said it took the tool down as a precaution because of concerns identity thieves could misuse information from the tool after seeing suspicious activity.

The IRS did not describe the suspicious activity but said it appears relatively isolated. No breach has been confirmed.

“If fraud is suspected, the IRS will contact impacted individuals by mail to notify them,” Doggett's office said.

Doggett will introduce a bill streamlining FAFSA and making access to the data retrieval tool mandatory.

Those who filled out FAFSA prior to the removal of the data retrieval tool should be fine.

The IRS said it is working to resolve the issue with the data retrieval tool as quickly as possible but admitted it could be weeks before it's back online.

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