Does paper filing fed taxes delay FA offers from schools?

<p>FAFSA was filled out about three weeks ago, using "will file" and what turned out to be very accurate estimates (just a few dollars off) and was sent to all the schools that were applied to -- most have already offered admission. </p>

<p>Federal tax returns were filled out and sent paper/snail mail this week. Did not/cannot e-file. </p>

<p>Now I notice that the FAFSA website says that when paper filing taxes, it can take up to 11 weeks (!) before the info is available to be accessed by the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool.</p>

<p>Will the schools delay their financial aid offers until after the Data Retrieval Tool is used? Should I go into the FAFSA and update the tax info (as it was put down on the 1040A) manually right away instead?</p>

<p>Hoping I didn't screw up on this one. But if we have to wait 11 weeks before getting a financial aid offer, we won't have very much time to evaluate offers and choose a school before May 1.</p>

<p>If you’re filing a 1040, pretty much anyone can e-file. Did you have a really crazy return or something?</p>

<p>My suggestion is to go into your FAFSA & update using your actual tax info. IF you are selected for verification and/or asked by a school to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will then need to do the DRT. If it’s not yet available to you, you can request that a tax transcript be faxed to you (that’s the fastest method). Don’t worry about it - it will work out for you,</p>

<p>I think your financial aid would be estimated until you sent in the tax transcript or using IRS Data Retrieval Tool</p>

<p>It is recommended that a student use the DRT, but it is not mandatory. The student “has to” use DRT or provide a tax transcript only if the school requests that the student uses the DRT or provides a tax transcript.</p>

<p>Definitely go in and fix the numbers by hand so that the schools will be using the correct numbers when they create your package. </p>

<p>@MiddKid86 there are lots of little things that can prevent one from e-filing with a 1040. I think last year might have been the first year were were able to. In our case, it was either lists from our Schedule C or having “too many” (which I think is more than 2) childcare providers to list for the childcare tax credit or some other fairly minor thing. I wouldn’t say we’ve ever had a “really crazy” return. But there was always some detail that precluded e-filing until last year.</p>

<p>Any ‘refundable’ (not set off against tax owed) credit except the EIC can require paper filing.</p>

<p>All good info, thanks. I will certainly update with the “final” tax info ASAP. I don’t want the thread to get sidetracked though on when paper filing is or is not necessary. My main question is still: will schools delay their financial aid offers to a student because e-file wasn’t used? My sense from the responses so far is No, but I’d like to hear a take on it from someone who knows for sure.</p>

<p>Read kelsmom’s posts. They are correct. Manually update now and change the status to have filed, you are only required to use the DRT if selected for verification. Also, it shouldn’t take 11 weeks for a paper return to be processed this early in the filing season, maybe 2-3 weeks.</p>

<p>It shouldn’t delay finaid offers, but finaid offers will be estimates until your fafsa is in a ‘have filed’ status and verification, if required, is completed.</p>

<p>Thank you, I did read them and they were very helpful in understanding how and when schools use the DRT. However, they didn’t address whether schools delay sending an offer as directly as I was seeking. Since it’s pretty important, I didn’t want to make assumptions.</p>

<p>So, schools send the actual (i.e. not estimated) FA offer based on the “have filed” status in the FAFSA, and not based on whether or when the DRT is used, which is likely to only be required if selected for verification. Is that it?</p>

<p>In my experience, the financial aid offer you get with your will file status is an estimate based on that. When you actually update with the 2013 tax info, your financial aid package will be finalized. And YES, if there is a difference, you could see a change in your financial aid offer. One of DD’s schools (a FAFSA only school) sent her an EA acceptance and a financial aid package based on our will file status. When we updated, her grant was reduced by $9000 (no that is not a misprint). And FYI, our income changed upward by about $3000.</p>

<p>Schools will not delay your offers - but make sure you update the filing status from “will file” to “have filed.”</p>

<p>Just changed it today (to “already completed” which seems to be the same…there was no ‘have filed’). Thanks everyone for your help and info.</p>