The Department of Education selects approximately 30% of students who complete the FAFSA for verification. Verification is a process where the school confirms the data reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Students selected for verification will receive notification from the Department of Education on their Student Aid Report (SAR), a letter or an email from the Financial Aid Office, and the required documents will appear on the To Do List on WINS. The type of documents a student is required to submit will vary for each student. Check with the Financial Aid Office if you are not sure what documents to submit.
IRS Data Retrieval
If students and parents of dependent students utilize the IRS Data Retrieval tool while completing the FAFSA, this could reduce the number of documents required. Beginning the first week of February, this tool transfers tax data directly from the IRS. In general, if you filed your taxes electronically, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available in approximately 2-3 weeks. If you filed a paper tax return, it may take 6-8 weeks for the information to be available via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Individuals who owe the IRS and have not paid will experience a delay in obtaining tax data. Depending on the situation, the data is available in May or June based on this chart.
Here's how it works:
- If you indicate the federal tax return has already been completed, an information box will ask if certain situations apply. These situations are used to determine eligibility for the IRS Data Retrieval.
- If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval, you may be asked to confirm your FSA ID and password and you must click Link to IRS.
- Type in all required information. Your address must be an exact match (e.g., do not type Street for St).
- Once you have verified your identity and the tax information is available, you must click Transfer Now for the data to populate the FAFSA. If you make any changes to this data, the Financial Aid Office may require you submit a tax transcript.
If the IRS Data Retrieval is unavailable during the initial filing of the FAFSA, you can update this information at a later date by going back to fafsa.gov, logging in, and clicking Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA.
For step by step instructions, watch this video*:
*We recommend you click view full screen for a better view of the text in the video.
Need Help Getting the Right Documents?
When the Financial Aid Office requests documents, it is important to submit these documents in a timely manner. Any documents which are incomplete or illegible will be returned to the student. If our office needs additional information after reviewing the documents, an email or letter will be sent to the student.
All worksheets are available in our online forms section. Check the To Do list or the communication from the Financial Aid Office to determine which worksheets you need to submit. Be sure you are downloading worksheets for the correct aid year.
***Tax Return Transcripts***
The Financial Aid Office must collect tax return transcripts for anyone selected for verification who did not use the IRS Data Retrieval or if the data from the IRS was updated after it was transferred. We are unable to accept a copy of the tax return in place of a tax transcript. The IRS will provide a tax return transcript free for any tax filer. You can order a transcript to be mailed or call 1-800-908-9946. Be sure to order a Return Transcript. If you need to speak to a person at the IRS, call 1-800-829-1040; however you cannot order transcripts using this phone number.
Order a Transcript Through the Mail
- Go to the IRS website.
- Click Get Transcript by Mail.
- Type in your identifying information. For joint filers, use the primary filer. Make sure your address is accurate based on US Postal standards for abbreviations (e.g., St for Street). Click Continue.
- Choose Return Transcript and the correct year (2014 for the 2015-2016 aid year; 2015 for 2016-2017 aid year).
- The transcript will be mailed to you. Expect to receive it within 5-10 days. Mail or fax the transcript to the Financial Aid Office. Be sure to include the student ID number. It is recommended you keep a copy for your records.
Order a Transcript using IRS Request Form
- Go to the IRS website.
- Download form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return
- It is recommended you have the transcript mailed to you, not a 3rd party, in order to make a copy for your records.
- Mail or fax the form to the appropriate address.
Update the FAFSA with IRS Information
- In most cases, if you use the IRS Data Retrieval (see the section above) on the FAFSA, you do not need to request a tax transcript.
- The video will show you step by step instructions.
If you are struggling with obtaining IRS data, contact the Financial Aid Office to schedule an appointment with your administrator.
Amended Tax Returns
If you have submitted an amended return to the IRS, please send the Financial Aid Office a signed copy of the amended return (1040X form) along with the IRS Tax Return Transcript of the original return.
If you have been the victim of identity theft and you cannot obtain tax transcripts, you must provide the following documents:
- A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS by contacting the IRS's Identity Protection Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490.
- A signed and dated statement from the tax filer indicating they are a victim of tax-related identity theft and the IRS has been made aware of the situation.
If you did not save a copy of your W-2 form(s), you can contact your employer(s) for copies. You only need to submit W-2s if they are requested.