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.
The Federal processor may select students for one of the following verification categories:
- Standard Verification Group
- Aggregate Verification Group
- Custom Verification Group
While most students selected will fall into the Standard Verification Group, some may be chosen for one of the other 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
Students and parents who are selected to verify income and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval process while completing their FAFSA may need to submit copies of an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
- The following information is needed to request a transcript – Social Security Number, date of birth, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used when the most recent tax return was filed).
- It takes up to 2 weeks for IRS income information to be available for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to 8-12 weeks for paper IRS tax return filers.
- Be sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and not the “IRS Tax Account Transcript”.
- We strongly recommend that you have the transcript sent to you and then you submit a copy to our office, and keep a copy for your own records.
- Be sure to submit all pages of the transcript.
Online To Be Mailed
This method will let you request a transcript online to be mailed to the address you have on file with the IRS. The IRS recommends you allow 5-10 business days for arrival.
Go to www.IRS.gov and Click GET A TAX TRANSCRIPT (under Tools). Select GET TRANSCRIPT BY MAIL. Enter the taxpayers information and click Continue.
Tips: Be sure you are typing the address exactly as it appears on the tax return. Spellings, punctuation, and abbreviations such as Rd., RD, Road will make a difference.
Online To Be Downloaded
This method will let you request a transcript online to download as a PDF instantly.
Go to www.IRS.gov and Click Get a Tax Transcript (under Tools). Select GET TRANSCRIPT ONLINE. You will have to create an account and provide answers to security questions based on your credit history to verify your identity.
This method will let you request a transcript by phone to be mailed to the address you have on file with the IRS. The IRS recommends you allow 5-10 business days for arrival.
Call 1-800-908-9946. Press 1 for English. Enter the tax filers SSN. Enter the numbers in your street address.
Tips: The online requests require an exact match on the address, whereas the phone method only requires your house number, so it is often times easier to get.
What To Do If You Have Trouble Obtaining A Transcript
When did you submit your return? In some cases it can take up to 8-12 weeks after filing your return before transcript information is available.
Try a different requesting method; if you were unsuccessful with the online method, the phone method may work for you.
For more assistance in obtaining a transcript, contact the Truman Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For individuals who have filed an amended return, additional information is needed for verification purposes. Please note, the IRS Tax Return Transcript only shows the information submitted on the original return and does not reflect changes made by the amendment. Therefore the following items are required:
- IRS Tax Return Transcript
- A signed copy of the individual’s 1040X—Amended Return
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 known as the TRDBV (Transcript DataBase View). Please complete the Statement of Identity Theft and submit it along with a copy of the TRDBV in place of a tax return transcript.
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