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Noncustodial parent refuses to file taxes but IDOC requires tax return, what do I do?

JamesesesessJamesesesess Registered User Posts: 343 Member
My dad (noncustodial parent) used to run a business years ago and never filed taxes while running it. Of course, the amount he owed the government piled up and now he hasn't filed taxes in god knows how long. His financial stupidity is one of the main reasons for my parents' divorce; it stressed my mom out to no end knowing that the IRS step come in at any minute. Now two of the colleges I've applied to, Northwestern and Columbia, both require the IDOC service, and they want his tax return. This entire process has been stressful with him. We are on good terms; he has always been a good father. But as soon as I told him I would need his tax information to fill out the PROFILE late last year, it has been a never ending stressful process. He did give me his W2 so I was able to fill out his NCP fine, but now IDOC wants an actual copy of his tax return. I thought I could just have him sign the non-filing statement and attach his W2 to that, but the bottom of it says, "I certify that I did not and am not required to file a 2014 U.S. federal tax return". He makes around $50k a year (although child support and IRS wage garnishing about cut that in half) so he is legally required to file, so having him sign that would technically be a lie.

Should I have him sign the non-filing statement anyway? Wouldn't the W2 provide them with enough information? There is absolutely no way I could convince him to file his taxes, and if I ever did it would be a massive, angry struggle and it would probably be past their deadlines anyway. My EFC is 0 so my mom won't be helping me financially at all, my dad won't be helping me either, so there's no way I could attend without a grant. Northwestern is my first choice so if I get accepted and can't attend because of this, I don't even know...
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Replies to: Noncustodial parent refuses to file taxes but IDOC requires tax return, what do I do?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,060 Senior Member
    He is required to file taxes. He can't do a non-filers statement.

    If the schools require the NCP Profile, and he does not do it, your application for financial aid will be incomplete at these colleges, and will not be processed.

    Is there any other trusted relative who can help you with this?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,742 Senior Member
    I don't suppose he'd file this year and worry about the missing years later? If the IRS is already garnishing it seems like a win-win to file - why not do it? He needs to understand you won't get any financial aid from the schools unless he does it.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,742 Senior Member
    PS: I just went through this with my D's NCP. He didn't file for several years and this year - for the same reason you are asking - he did it. As it turns out he is even due a refund. I don't think he'll actually GET the refund because he owes from not filing in previous years, but he didn't have to pay anything when he filed either. Win-win.
  • snappletopsnappletop Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    @Jamesesesess If I were you, I would call up each college that requested your dad's info and ask for an exemption/wavier/exception. You need to get on it ASAP though. Most of the deadlines are either March 1 or March 2.

    However, most of the deadlines are "soft". In other words, you can still apply for aid after the deadline, but you just might not get your award letter along with your 'admitted student' packet.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,311 Senior Member
    @snappletop - An applicant isn’t eligible for an exemption simply because Dad doesn’t want to file his taxes. It doesn’t work that way.
  • snappletopsnappletop Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    @dodgersmom I agree in that they almost definitely won't grant a true exemption solely because the dad doesn't want to file taxes.

    However, I'm sure they have some type of process established where an applicant can apply for aid without forcing them and their parents to commit perjury.

    It'll probably be like the IDOC's non-tax filer form, except with the "not required to file" part taken out.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,060 Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    However, I'm sure they have some type of process established where an applicant can apply for aid without forcing them and their parents to commit perjury.


    Snapple. No. If the non-custodial parent form is required...it is required. There is no "process" for applying for aid without it...unless the student can receive a waiver. This student has no basis for a waiver. Not being willing to do taxes is NOT basis for a NCP waiver. It's not.

    There is no "special process" for tax evaders.

    What perjury? The student must be honest...so what exactly are you implying?

    This student hopefully has schools on the application list that do not require the NCP information.

    Sure, the student can contact the school...find out the process for getting a NCP waiver. But the student should not be surprised if the waiver is denied.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,311 Senior Member
    I'm sure they have some type of process established where an applicant can apply for aid without forcing them and their parents to commit perjury.
    Nobody’s forcing anyone to commit perjury. They are saying, however, that if you want your student to be eligible for institutional aid, then you can’t be a scofflaw. If Dad doesn’t want to file his taxes, and this college needs to see his tax return, then the application will be deemed incomplete . . . and it will be denied.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,742 Senior Member
    It will be near impossible to get a waiver from what I understand. But Monday, call a couple of the schools and explain the situation and see what they say. I think they'll say he must file, but at least you'd hear it from them if they do. Then you can pass that on to your NCP.
  • JamesesesessJamesesesess Registered User Posts: 343 Member
    edited February 2015
    I really appreciate all of your responses. Not really what I wanted to hear, but I know they have the rules in place for a reason. They can't just give away massive grants without knowing they're going to the right people. Which is unfortunate I have to be in this situation because my parents will truly be contributing nothing either way. My sister messaged my dad about this since they get along much better than me and him, but I don't know if anyone can get through to him.

    @thumper1 His Profile was submitted, it's the IDOC that's the issue. There is no tax return I can submit to them. But I'm sure it's the same situation either way. Also, I do have other schools I've applied to that don't require the NCP (University of Chicago, UMich, and UW-Madison).

    @OHMomof2 That's what has us (my sister, mother, and me) puzzled, too. He told me that they garnish his wages, but I don't think I believe that. The address on his W2 is not current and we're always receiving letters from the IRS for him. My mom has tried giving the IRS his current address but they won't accept it unless it's coming from him himself, which he obviously will not do. Like I said, he gets upset whenever I ask him about his finances and taxes, so I really don't know the full situation. We think that he's not wanting to file his return because the IRS would then have his address and they could try getting the back taxes from him. I will call them on Monday and see what they say. I wish these deadlines were after decisions are sent out because Columbia is a fairly big reach for me and Northwestern, while I was deferred from the ED round, is still very competitive. It would save a lot of pain if I knew if I'm not getting into either of the colleges.

    @snappletop I really hope there's something they can do. I looked into the NCP waivers long ago when he wouldn't even give me his W2 and since he has visitation rights/we have contact, there's basically no way I could get a true waiver. But I guess I won't know until I call them, which I'll have to do Monday. Columbia's deadline IS Monday and Northwestern's is Thursday. I'm sure it won't look too great calling them on the day of the deadline, but I had absolutely no idea that the non-filer statement was only for those who aren't required to file taxes. I thought it also covered parents like my father who are irresponsible fools. Lol. The agreements on Northwestern and Columbia's non-filer forms make no mention of the parent not being required to file, just that the parent didn't file. The standard non-filer form that IDOC tells you to use has the agreement that I put in my original post, but I thought I was supposed to use the forms from each individual school which is why I never saw the IDOC form until today.

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,060 Senior Member
    If your dad has already completed the NCP Profile....you have NO basis for a waiver. It's already DONE. How would you get a waiver for something that has already been completed??

    You can't get a waiver for the IDOC documents. Those are used to verify that what is reported on the Profile and NCP Profile are accurate.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,311 Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    Okay, hold on a sec - IDOC’s way of doing things does not trump the individual college’s way of doing things. If Columbia and Northwestern have forms that say only that your dad didn’t file a tax return, then use those forms, and submit them directly to the colleges. Ignore the IDOC form.

    Also, if you need to contact the colleges, tell them only that your dad hasn’t filed his tax return yet, and you can’t guarantee when (or even if) he will file. If they ask about a 2013 return, just say you’ve been told it’s not available. All true. What you don't need to say is what you told us - that he never files. You don’t need to volunteer that information unless they ask.
  • JamesesesessJamesesesess Registered User Posts: 343 Member
    @dodgersmom Well, this is where it gets slightly confusing.


    For Northwestern, the form itself doesn't mention being required to file taxes. See: http://undergradaid.northwestern.edu/docs/2015-16 Parent Nonfiler Form.pdf
    But on the Financial Aid Application Instructions section of their website, it says this in regards to the non-filer form itself:

    "Those not required to file federal tax returns should complete the appropriate Non-Tax Filer's Statement on the IDOC site and send a written explanation of your circumstances to our office."

    ...with the "Non-Tax Filer's Statement" being a clickable link to the PDF above. So while the form itself doesn't say it, the description does, so I'd assume it is only for those not required to file taxes.


    But then for Columbia, they only say this about the non-filer form:

    "If either the parent or the student does not file taxes, please submit a Tax Non-Filer Form instead."

    And this is their non-filer form (again, no mention of being required to file taxes): http://cc-seas.financialaid.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/parenttaxnonfiler_2014.pdf


    So I don't know. It looks like Columbia's form can be used for anyone not filing taxes and Northwestern's is probably only for those not required. I wish their offices were open on Sundays because I want to get this taken care of now... way too much stress during an already stressful time.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,060 Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    James. It is very possible that the schools will see your dad's $50,000 or so income (which he reported on the NCP Profile) and question a non-filers form at some point. Just be prepared for that possibility.
  • JamesesesessJamesesesess Registered User Posts: 343 Member
    @thumper1 Yeah... I feel like the non-filer form generally really is intended only for those not required to file. And seeing as Northwestern is not only my top choice but I have better chances of actually getting in compared to Columbia, it looks like I'll need the tax return either way.

    Luckily, my sister just showed me her conversation with my dad and having her be the messenger seems to have worked. It sounds like he's willing to file using TurboTax (which is apparently not a highly recommended service, but something is better than nothing), so hopefully he'll come around and not just procrastinate it into oblivion like I'd expect.
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