Beginning with the 2012-13 year, signed photocopies of federal income tax returns are no longer considered sufficient forms of income verification. Instead, the government requires that tax filers either:
- Log back into www.fafsa.gov and correct the FAFSA by updating the income data, for both the parent and the student, with information pulled directly from the IRS tax return (using the IRS Data Retrieval Process), or
- For both the parent and the student, request an official tax transcript from the IRS
We encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process available through the FAFSA. This process will be simpler and faster than requesting a Tax Return Transcript.
Return the following items to the Financial Aid Office at Saint Mary’s College:
- 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 here.)
- Copies of the parent(s) and student W2 statements and/or K1 statements and Schedule C from the federal tax return
- Provide verification of parent and student income by updating the FAFSA with data pulled directly from your federal income tax return (see IRS Data Retrieval Process for more information) -or- request 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 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 to 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.
Requesting a Tax Return Transcript or a Tax Account Transcript from the IRS is FREE!
To Get a Tax Transcript
- Go to www.irs.gov and click on Order a Transcript under the Online Services option, or
- Call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message, or
- 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.
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 6 to 8 weeks of when you filed your tax return.
- The tax transcript should be received 5 to 10 days after the request was submitted.
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.