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FAFSA - Joint tax 1040, but application wants income separated

stoman23stoman23 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Question on the FAFSA application. For 2015 my wife and I filed a 1040 as married, filing jointly, so our income is added together and calculated as AGI and entered on line 37. The FAFSA app requires this number, but then it also requires lines 7, 12, and 18 added together for both my wife and me. The 1040 doesn't break these numbers out, so I'm not sure what to enter in the app. There are two required fields...one for Parent 1, and one for Parent 2. The app is making me enter values for both fields, and I'm not sure what to enter.

I've verified that I picked 'Married-Filed Joint Return' for the tax filing status. Does anyone know why it's forcing me to enter values for both my wife and me? If that's normal, do I need to use our W2's to figure these values out?

Thanks for the help.

Replies to: FAFSA - Joint tax 1040, but application wants income separated

  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,575 Senior Member
    Yes you get them from W-2 and that is how it works.

    My guess has been that it shows if both spouses are employed and is there spare earning potential because all income comes from one spouse and there isn't an explanation to why the other doesn't work. Just a guess.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,117 Senior Member
    Look at your W2's or your final paystubs to calculate what each of you made and contributed to the AGI total
  • stoman23stoman23 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I just double checked the FAFSA app, and it says to use the 1040, not the W2's. Here is the exact verbiage:

    How much did your Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent) earn from working (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) in 2015? This amount is your Parent 1 (father's/mother's/stepparent's) portion of IRS Form 1040-lines 7+12+18.

    This implies that a 1040 has a section for each person, but it doesn't. Not sure what I'm missing here. Thanks for the help!
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,575 Senior Member
    That is wages (7), business income (12) and farm income (18). For most, that means W-2, the source document to complete block 7. If you have farm income or business income, that is also broken out by spouse.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    Preliminary question: why are now working on the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year? Is this for a student who is starting school next spring? A last minute filing for a student who is now enrolled for fall 2017?

    FAFSA questions 85 (AGI), 86 and 87 come straight off of the 1040. Questions 88 and 89 ask for the the individual components from each of the joint filers/parents. Question 88 asks for the amount that Parent 1 earned that would be reflected on lines 7, 12 and 18 of the 1040. Question 89 asks for the amount that Parent 2 earned that would be reflected on lines 7, 12 and 18 of the 1040. If either parent doesn't have any earned income for the year, then the appropriate FAFSA answer for question 88 or 89 is $0. If the only earned income is, for example, $50,000 for parent 1 as reported on a W-2 and $40,000 for parent 2 also reported on a W-2, then you would report $50,000 on FAFSA question 88 and $40,000 on FAFSA question 89. These would be the components of the $90,000 that would have been reported on line 7 of the 1040. Any 1040 entries for lines 12 and 18 are handled the same way.


  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    edited September 11
    I just double checked the FAFSA app, and it says to use the 1040, not the W2's.

    The paper/pdf version of FAFSA says that the information to be reported in questions 88 and 89 may be found on W-2 forms:

    Questions 88 and 89 ask about earnings (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) in 2015. Answer the questions whether or not a tax return was filed. This information may be on the W-2 forms or on the tax return selected in question 81: IRS Form 1040—lines 7 + 12 + 18 + Box 14 (Code A) of IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065); 1040A—line 7; or 1040EZ—line 1. If any individual earning item is negative, do not include that item in your calculation. Report the information for the parent listed in questions 61-64 in question 88 and theinformation for the parent listed in questions 65-68 in question 89.

    https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1718/pdf/PdfFafsa17-18.pdf
  • stoman23stoman23 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks for the quick replies. It sure seems like the numbers have to come from the W-2's. The verbiage should be changed to say that, instead of 1040!
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    Thanks for the quick replies. It sure seems like the numbers have to come from the W-2's.

    No, the numbers do not have to come from a W-2. That's just the most typical way that earned income is reported by an employer. Don't overthink it. The instructions are fairly clear.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,976 Senior Member
    It breaks it out by parent to calculate the soc sec tax deduction of the FAFSA EFC formula I assume.

    Also if there are two parents working, there is an employment expense allowance calculated as well.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,976 Senior Member
    The AGI reflects the total income subject to federal tax. It could include rental income, interest income, etc.

    The soc sec tax deduction of the FAFSA EFC formula is calculated on the earned income, not AGI.

    For an employee, earned income should be the gross federal income from W2.

    Self employed individuals and farmers would add business and farm income from the respective lines on the 1040.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,976 Senior Member
    Employment Expense Allowance.
    This allowance for employment-related expenses—which is used for the parents of dependent students and for married independent students—recognizes additional expenses incurred by working spouses and single-parent households. The allowance is based on the marginal differences in costs for a two-worker family compared to a one- worker family. The items covered by these additional expenses are: Food away from home, apparel, transportation, and household
    furnishings and operations.
    The employment expense allowance for parents of dependent students, married independent students without dependents other than a spouse, and independent students with dependents other than a spouse is the lesser of
    $4,000 or 35 percent of earned income.

    source: https://ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/attachments/FR050117.pdf (page 5)
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,976 Senior Member
    edited September 12
    Don't forget to report any pretax 401 k contributions on the FAFSA as well. In question 94a.
    https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1718/help/faadef23.htm

    The FAFSA that starts on October 1, 2017 will be for school year 2018/19 and will use 2016 tax return information.
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