2012-13 verification of tax return information

<p>I have mentioned it before, but I wanted to share what the guidance is for verification of tax return information for 2012-13. This refers to students whose FAFSA is selected for verification by the federal processor:</p>

<p>IRS Tax Return Transcript Required</p>

<p>Under certain conditions, some applicants who were selected for verification will need to submit to their institution an IRS Tax Return Transcript of 2011 tax year information for the applicant, his or her spouse, and his or her parents, as applicable. These conditions are as follows -</p>

<pre><code>When the applicant (or parent) did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process - either at initial FAFSA filing or though the FOTW correction process.

When information included on the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Process was subsequently changed.

When a married independent applicant and spouse filed separate tax returns.

When the parents of a dependent student filed separate tax returns.

When an applicant or applicant’s parent had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31, 2011.

When the applicant, or parent or spouse, as applicable, filed an amended tax return.
</code></pre>

<p>Personally, I like the changes. They minimize the ability to "game" the system.</p>

<p>There has been a lot of discussion about the tax retrieval tool on this forum, and this illustrates the point that using the retrieval tool can make verification a whole lot easier.</p>

<p>As always ... never send your school any information unless it is requested (but watch your student email for those requests!).</p>

<p>Thank you for the info kelsmom.</p>

<p>Verification usually means delayed financial aid decision, right?</p>

<p>Yes and no. Much depends on the school. </p>

<p>Where I worked, which was a large public U, we did initial packages for all incoming freshmen based on the FAFSA that was on file at the time we ran the packaging routine (usually March). If a new EFC came in, the package would eventually get adjusted, but sometimes that took time ... computers can only do so much, and the limited staff has to do the rest. If the student was selected for verification, no aid could be disbursed to the account until verification was completed. If the student paid attention & got all verification documents in quickly, he would have his aid set well in advance of the start of school. Awards were only estimated until verification was complete, and if the EFC changed the awards could change.</p>

<p>For returning students or new students who were not "first time in college," if they were selected for verification, we did not package until verification was complete. Again, if the student paid attention & got all necessary documents into the financial aid office in a timely manner, aid would be ready before the start of classes.</p>

<p>Many aid offices are stretched very thin, so getting the FAFSA in early is important, as is updating it when taxes are done as soon as possible. I do suggest filing electronically and doing a direct transfer using the IRS link.</p>

<p>For anyone who is asked to provide a transcript during verification, the type of tax transcript needed is FREE. Please do not pay for one ... the school doesn't need the kind that you have to pay for. Call 1-800-908-9946. Tip: It takes awhile to get the transcript if you do the automated request & have it mailed to you. To speed things up, hit 0 until you get a real person and ask to have it faxed to you. They will not fax it to an unsecured fax (like at OfficeMax or another store) ... and they will ask if you are there to retrieve the fax in person; if not, they won't fax it.</p>

<p>So is the IRS link on the FAFSA website?
( Im still waiting for tax forms- do they have until end of January?)</p>

<p>Yes. When you go to update from "will file" to "already filed," the link will pop up. You will be asked if you would like to transfer your tax information from the IRS website. Once you do the transfer, it is really important to remember to submit a change. We had a number of students who transferred the info but then didn't actually go through the process of submitting it as a correction. You have to do the PIN thing to get it to submit!</p>

<p>
[quote]

When the applicant, or parent or spouse, as applicable, filed an amended tax return.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What happens if the amended return was filed after the verification and/or disbursement of aid?</p>

<p>I guess if you amended the tax return after the FAFSA was finalized, you would have to go back and correct the FAFSA- but I don't know if schools are notified when changes are made to FAFSA automatically or if you just send the aid office a note notifying them of the changes.</p>

<p>There is no back-and-forth between the IRS and FAFSA ... so if the amendment was made after verification, it would be the responsibility of the student to notify his/her financial aid department of the change. And never change a FAFSA after verification is complete ... always notify the aid office & provide the proof of the change (in this case, it would be a tax transcript once the amendment has processed). The school will make the update using the new information.</p>

<p>Hi kelsmom, </p>

<p>We filed our taxes via regular mail. Self employed, so I knew we would get selected for verification. Do you know if we should request transcript via automated request and then call to get it faxd? OR just call and talk to a person to submit request for transcript and to be faxd? thanks</p>

<p>mum4college</p>

<p>It takes longer to be able to link if you filed via mail. I would suggest calling the IRS tax transcript line and talk to a representative - ask if you transcript is available now. They will fax to you. Just hit "0" a bunch of times when you call the automated line, and you will eventually be connected to a rep.</p>

<p>I e-filed and didn't include my middle initial as I usually do, copied the return to mail to idocs. DH is flipping out saying it will be "kicked back" by IRS and idocs. Did I mess up?</p>

<p>kelsmom - what is the timing on the verification request typically? In other words, if I filed the FAFSA at the end of January - when might I expect to hear if I was selected for verification? If I don't hear anything by a certain date - am I safe? I have never been selected before - but I did not use the IRS data retrieval tool this year as my sons' colleges do not require it.</p>

<p>Thanks kelsmom!</p>

<p>Every school is different. If it's a new student, you should receive verification information in the mail, although some may only post it through the student portal even for prospectives - I don't know of any schools that do that, but they could ... so be aware that if your student has received a password for student email or portal from a school, he needs to start watching for communications right away. You can forward them to another email address, usually.</p>

<p>For returning students, I would bet most schools request verification materials ON THE STUDENT'S AID ACCOUNT. That is, you won't see it ... and they might ignore it. So make sure your kid checks her financiail aid account for requirements on a regular basis (and reads any and all emails for the financial aid office).</p>

<p>Do most schools require you to go through the verification process before or after you accept their offer of admission?</p>

<p>kelsmom, thanks so much for posting.</p>

<p>I've filed FAFSA (estimated then actual) and taxes and plan to check for the link in a couple of weeks. I've been told that since I already corrected the estimated FAFSA, I may need to move a college on or off the list to get the link presented to me...I hope that's the case because it sounds a lot easier than dealing with a faxed doc.</p>

<p>^^^Since my S is a returning student I cannot play around with colleges on the list. I plan to do FAFSA this weekend with the actual numbers from the return we filed yesterday. I am not sure what to do about the data retrieval. Any suggestions?</p>

<p>^ If your S is a returning student, does he have the same deadlines as an applicant?</p>

<p>You can probably just wait a few weeks to file the FAFSA, and use the data retrieval tool then.</p>

<p>His dealine is March 2. We want to do FAFSA before our tax refund arrives in our bank account.</p>

<p>^ According to the IRS Refund Cycle chart, your refund should be deposited on February 15, so you have another week or so to see if the link works.</p>

<p>Or maybe do the FAFSA as "will file" and then update it in a few weeks.</p>