Verification is the process of checking the data you reported on the FAFSA against actual Federal income tax return transcripts and statements documenting household size, number in college and untaxed income. The Federal processor selects student FAFSA results for verification. Students are notified in the cover letter of their Student Aid Report (SAR) that they have been selected for review and an asterisk is placed next to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number on the front page of the SAR.
If you are selected for review, realize this is a common process. Its goal is to maintain an accurate and fair need analysis. Respond promptly to your school's request for a Verification Worksheet and other data. Failure to provide data will result in delays, and possible cancellation of Federal aid.
Verifications are handled by college financial aid offices; don't send documentation to the Federal processor. If errors are found, the financial aid officer will make necessary corrections with an electronic process. You will receive a new SAR Information Acknowledgement from the Central Processor so you know what corrections were made. Corrections could affect financial aid estimates that were sent to you earlier. If your awards change significantly, the Financial Aid Office will send you a revised Award Letter.
New for the 2014-2015 school year, the Federal processor may select students for one of the five verification categories:
While most students selected will fall into the Standard Verification Group, some may be chosen for one of the other four groups. The Financial Aid office will send a Verification Worksheet for your appropriate verification group to you at your permanent address. It is extremely important that you submit the information that is requested in your verification worksheet.
Requesting A Tax Return Transcript
Federal verification guidelines do not consider copies of a Federal Tax Return as sufficient documentation of income for verification purposes. Therefore, students and parents who are selected to verify income and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval process while completing their FAFSA will need to submit copies of an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
On The Web-Go to www.IRS.gov and click on the “Get a Transcript of Your Records” link.
By Phone-Call 1-800-908-9946
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
For individuals who used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in FAFSA on the Web to retrieve and transfer unchanged IRS income information into the student’s FAFSA, either on the initial FAFSA or when making corrections to the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will use this information instead of a tax transcript. Please note, in some instances, a transcript may still be needed.
If you have not yet used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, but will use it to transfer IRS income information into the student’s FAFSA instead of requesting a Tax Return Transcript, please notify the Financial Aid Office once the FAFSA has been successfully updated with the IRS data.
We have experienced a high volume of students and parents who believe they have used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA, but the FAFSA results received by the school do not indicate a successful transfer. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you request an IRS Tax Return Transcript for Verification purposes. Submitting a transcript with your Verification Worksheet may decrease your processing time.
IRS Tax Extensions
If you or your parent has been granted an extension of time for completing a Tax Return and you do not expect the return to be filed in time for the completion of your verification, please contact the Financial Aid office for additional information.
Victims of Identity Theft
When the IRS determines a tax filer has been or likely was a victim of identity theft, it will not allow him to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA or get a tax return transcript until the matter has been resolved, which can take up to a year for complex cases.
An individual who is the victim of identity theft and cannot get a return transcript must contact the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490. After the IPSU authenticates the tax filer’s identity, they can ask the IRS to mail them an alternate paper tax return transcript knows as the TRDBV (Transcript DataBase View). Please indicate on your Verification Worksheet that you are victim of Identity Theft and submit this document in place of a tax return transcript.