What is Verification and How are you Selected?
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 were 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. No aid will be disbursed until completion of the verification process and proper submission of additional forms for federal loans, federal grants, or other federal aid.
Students are responsible for payment of tuition by the payment deadline regardless of the status of the verification process. Financial aid will not defer tuition payments if the student has outstanding requirements that are not satisfied.
Who processes Verification?
Please don't send documentation to the Federal government. If errors are found, the financial aid office and/or Incepita will make corrections with an electronic process. You will receive a new SAR Information Acknowledgement from the Central Processor so you will know corrections were made.
The Federal processor may select students for one of three verification categories:
- Standard Verification Group (V1) - Processed by Inceptia
- Custom Verification Group (V4) - Processed by CSN
- Aggregate Verification Group (V5) - Processed by both CSN & Inceptia
While most students selected will fall into the Standard Verification Group, some may be chosen for one of the other two groups.
Obtaining 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 will need to submit a signed 1040 or 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 may take 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.
Acceptable Tax Documentation
- Tax Return Transcripts
- Signed 1040- if a student is unable to obtain a tax return transcript
- Verification of Non Filing letter from IRS along with W-2’s ( if no income was earned student will need to submit that in writing)
- If unable to obtain a non-filing letter- the student must indicate that they will not and are not required to file taxes for the tax year in questions by submitting a signed statement
- W-2s - if a return was not filed but income was earned
- IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) - The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) automatically transfers your tax return income information from the IRS website directly into your FAFSA. Both parents and students can use it. It is quick and easy and can be completed within minutes! Please note, once the income information has been transferred, you will not be able to view the IRS information/amounts.
How to Obtain a Tax Return Transcript
ONLINE: Visit www.irs.gov. Choose between Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail.
PHONE: Call 1-800-908-9946.
PAPER: Complete an IRS Form 4506-T, available at www.irs.gov, and submit it to the IRS as indicated on the form. The form must be mailed to the IRS to request a transcript. Once processed they will mail the tax return transcript to you. * If you have never filed an IRS tax return, you will need to use the PAPER option above to obtain an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter.
Requesting a Transcript Tutorial
Signed 1040- If you or your parents cannot use the DRT and cannot obtain a tax return transcript from the IRS, please submit a signed copy of the filer’s 1040 federal income tax return, including all schedules, statements, and W-2 forms.
Amended Tax Returns - 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:
- Original IRS Tax Return Transcript (can also accept original signed 1040)
- Tax Account Transcript
- A signed copy of the individual's 1040X-Amended Return
Amended Tax Returns
Special Tax Situations
- Non-U.S. Tax Filers
Before submitting, foreign tax returns must be translated into English and amounts converted to U.S. Dollars. Convert all monetary units to U.S. dollars using the published exchange rate for the date you completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit the Federal Reserve website to view the daily and past exchange rates.
- 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 complete a Statement of Identity Theft and submit it along with a copy of the TRDBV in place of a tax return transcript.
What is Identity Theft?