Federal Verification Instructions
The Department of Education through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) randomly selects students for the federal verification process each year. The following information details the federal verification process.
The Federal Verification Process
If you are selected for federal verification you will be asked to complete a Federal Verification Worksheet and provide documentation of both student's and parents' income. The Office of Student Financial Services is required to confirm the information that was reported on your FAFSA.
Federal regulations state that families can no longer submit a signed copy of the federal income tax return as a sole means to verify income reported on the FAFSA. Families have the option of loading their completed tax data directly from the IRS to their FAFSA through the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval process. If an applicant is selected for verification and decides not to use the IRS data retrieval process, the applicant and parent(s) are required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript to verify their income.
The Office of Student Financial Services will still require a copy of both parents’ and student’s 2015 federal income tax return(s) and W-2 forms as part of the application process for need-based institutional financial aid.
Documentation of Income
Applicants selected for federal verification can retrieve their IRS data when making a correction to their FAFSA. If no changes are made to the IRS data once it has been retrieved, then an IRS tax transcript will not be required. If changes are made to tax information after the IRS tax data is retrieved, the applicant and parent(s) will be required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript. Please note: we cannot accept an IRS Tax Account Transcript for the federal verification process.
The IRS Data Retrieval process may not be available for families with the following circumstances:
- Parent(s) and/or students who filed a 2015 joint tax return and have filed the FAFSA with a marital status of separated, divorced, or widowed.
- A tax filer who is married to someone other than the individual included on their 2015 joint tax return.
- A tax filer who was not married in 2015 but was married at the time the FAFSA was filed. In addition to parent income, the current spouse’s income must also be reported on the FAFSA.
- A parent or student who is married but filed separate tax returns. Both parents’ income is reported on the FAFSA.
- A parent who filed an amended tax return.
Non US Tax Filers
Applicants filing a Puerto Rico tax return or a foreign tax return may not use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval process and must send a signed copy of their 2015 tax documents directly to the college.
Using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Process:
Families must first log in to the FAFSA using their FSA ID numbers. Online help is available for the families using the IRS Data Retrieval process. In general, tax filers can anticipate that their tax data will be available for the FAFSA data retrieval process:
- 2-3 weeks after a tax return has been filed electronically.
- 8-10 weeks after a tax return has been filed by mail.
If the tax filer has changed or corrected their federal income tax return, the amended information may not be available through the IRS data retrieval process. You will be required to submit a signed and dated copy of your 2015 Federal Income Tax Return (if you have not already done so) and a signed and dated copy of your Amended IRS Tax Return for verification.
How to request an IRS Transcript: The online IRS Get Transcript service that enabled tax payers to request and download a copy of their Tax Return Transcript is currently unavailable. To request a copy of your IRS Tax Transcript that will be sent to you by mail go to: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript. Click on the button "Get Transcript by MAIL" to request a copy of your tax return transcript. Tax payers may also request a copy of their IRS Tax Return Transcript in person at their local IRS Office.
Information for Non Tax Filers
The filers must attest that an IRS 1040 tax return has not and will not be filed and that an IRS 1040 tax return is not required to be filed. Copies of all W-2 forms from all employers must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Services.
Other Important Information:
The following information is also part of the Federal Verification Process:
Child Support Paid
Applicants who have indicated that child support was paid by the filer during 2015 must confirm the amounts of child support paid, to whom the payments were made, and the names and address of the children receiving the child support.
Receipt of SNAP Benefits
Applicants must verify that they or a member of their parents’ household received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at any point during 2014 or 2015.
It is important to submit any additional requested documents as soon as possible so as not to delay your financial aid application.