It is not finalized until you submit your tax transcript from the IRS or your non-filers statement*****
Just want to clarify ... the tax filer should submit FAFSA indicating "will file" taxes. After taxes are filed, wait about 2 weeks & then go back into the FAFSA to update with the Direct Tax Retrieval option (will probably be an option on the homepage at Home - FAFSA on the Web-Federal Student Aid
). That will take you from the FAFSA to the IRS website & allow you to dump your "real" tax info right into the FAFSA.
The non-tax filer will simply submit the FAFSA indicating "Not required to file." Nothing more needs to be done.
If you are selected for verification, or if your school requires it of all students, the non filer will be asked to submit a Statement of Non-Filing form. The student who used the IRS data retrieval and did not make any updates to the info transferred will not be required to submit anything else (although some schools may request copies of the schedules - and some may ask for more). A student who uses the transfer tool & then changes info, as well as a student whose information cannot be transferred using the data retrieval tool (amended returns, returns that will not transfer for whatever reason, etc) will be asked to submit an IRS tax transcript.