- Verification Checklist
- IRS Data Retrieval Process
- Tax Transcripts
- If You Have an Extension to File Taxes
- If You Filed an Amended Tax Return
Verification is a process where schools need to collect documentation from families to verify that the information reported on the financial aid applications was accurate. Once we receive the required documents we compare the information on those documents to the information that was reported on the aid applications and we make any corrections that are necessary. After this is complete we then re-calculate the students's eligibility for aid. At Saint Mary's College all students then receive a new financial aid award letter, even if there were no changes to the financial aid. Note that no need-based aid funds will be credited to student account bills until after the verification process has been completed.
The documents we need in order to complete verification include the following. Additional information may be requested on a case-by-case basis. Our priority deadline for submitting verification documents is May 15. If we do not receive verification documents by May 15 we cannot guarantee that the student's financial aid eligibility will be finalized before payment is due:
- A completed Verification Statement - If you were selected for the verification process, we will mail the Verification Statement to you. If you no longer have this form, a copy of the form is available on our forms page.
- Copies of the parent(s) and student W2 statements and/or K1 (1065) statements and/or Schedule C from the federal tax return
- Parent and student official IRS tax data which can be sent to use either by updating the FAFSA with data pulled directly from the federal income tax return (see IRS Data Retrieval Process for more information) -or by requesting a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS (see Tax Transcripts for more information).
IRS Data Retrieval is a process where a student and parent can have their income information pull directly from the federal income tax return onto the FAFSA. This data retrieval can occur either when the student is initially submitting her FAFSA, or after the FAFSA has already been submitted by logging back into www.fafsa.gov and making a correction to the FAFSA.
In order for the IRS Data Retrieval process to work:
- At least two weeks must have passed since the tax return was submitted to the IRS.
- When trying to retrieve tax data, the address of the tax payer must be entered strong>exactly as it appears on the tax return.
- The tax payer must not 1.) be married and filing separate tax returns, 2.) have had a change of marital status after December 31, or 3.) have filed an amended tax return. In all of these situations, the tax filer must submit a Tax Transcript.
To use the IRS Data Retrieval process:
- Wait approximately two weeks (for tax returns submitted electronically) or eight weeks (for tax returns submitted via paper) after the tax returns have been submitted.
- Go to www.fafsa.gov o either complete the FAFSA or correct a FAFSA that has already been submitted.
- In the Financial Information section for parent(s), make sure you answer that the tax return has “already been completed".
- You will then be presented with a set of questions to determine if you qualify to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process.
- If you can answer “None of the above” to all of the questions you will be directed to the Retrieval Tool. Enter your PIN and click "Link to IRS".
- Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site.
- On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information. Make sure you enter your address exactly as it appears on your tax return.
- Once the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display.
- If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS." Do not make changes to information marked "Transferred from the IRS".
- Update the “wages earned” if not accurate, as this information is not transferred from the IRS.
- Once you have completed steps 3 – 10 for the parent(s), repeat these steps for the student if the student filed a tax return.
- Submit your FAFSA with the corrections.
Tutorial on Using IRS Data Retreival with your FAFSA
Requesting a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS is FREE!
To Get a Tax Transcript
- Use the new Get Transcript Online tool at www.irs.gov. See below for further instructions.
- Use the IRS2GO mobile app.
- Use the Get Transcript by Mailtool at www.irs.gov.
- Call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message
- Complete and mail a request for a transcript (IRS form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T) to the address listed on the form.
- Be sure to order a tax return transcript, NOT a tax account transcript.
New Get Transcript Online Tool
- The Get Transcript Online tool delivers a PDF of the tax transcript if a filer submitted the request online and the request was authenticated.
- The PDF transcript will appear in a second window, and can be saved and/or printed by the tax filer and submitted to the college or university as requested.
- The PDF transcript will include the IRS logo and needs no further validation.
How Long Will it Take?
Tax payers can request a tax transcript after the IRS has processed your tax return.
- If you filed your tax return online, the IRS should be able to process a request for a Tax Transcript within 3 weeks of when you filed your tax return.
- If you filed a paper tax return, the IRS should be able to process a request for a tax transcript within 8 to 11 weeks of when you filed your tax return.
- The tax transcript should be received 5 to 10 days after the request was submitted.
Special Circumstance - IRS Identity Theft
- Tax filers who are victims of IRS identity theft will be denied a tax transcript through the regular request methods and will be referred to the Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU).
- Filers who believe they are victims of identity theft do not need to be referred to IPSU.
- IPSU can be reached at 800-908-4490 or by visiting the ID theft website on www.irs.gov.
- When IPSU authenticates the filers identity, a paper alternate tax transcript will be mailed.
If a taxpayer has an extension to file taxes, we can temporarily proceed with processing aid if the Financial Aid Office receives the following documents:
- A copy of the IRS 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File a U.S. Individual Tax Return
- Copies of all W2s, or if self-employed a signed statement with the amount of the adjusted gross income
The Financial Aid Office will complete an estimate verification based on the above documents, and aid will be credited to the fall semester student account. Before we can pay the aid for spring semester we must receive the final tax return either via IRS Data Retrieval or via Tax Return Transcript.
In addition to submitting the W2 and/or K1 statements, Schedule C, and the Verification Statement, those who file amended tax returns will need to send to the Financial Aid Office:
- A Tax Return Transcript of the original tax return, and
- A signed copy of the amended tax return (the 1040X)
If you have questions, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 866-502-7788 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.