Verification

The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for Verification. Verification is a process where the school confirms that the data reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Students will be informed by the U.S. Department of Education that they are selected for Verification on the Student Aid Report (SAR). Students will receive notices from UW Colleges of the required Verification documents that must be submitted to the Student Financial Aid Office. Incomplete document requests also will be reflected in PRISM as a "To Do" item.

Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA and moving forwardstudents (and parents, as appropriate) are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. 

Note: only students admitted as degree seeking are eligible for financial aid; students admitted as nondegree are ineligible.
 

Verification Documents

When the Student 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, a notice will be sent to the student. Forms and documents will be requested based on what is needed for an individual student.

Verifiable items include, but are not limited to:

Verification forms are available in the online forms section.

The deadline to address incomplete item(s) depends on the student's enrollment:

  • Fall only (no enrollment for the following spring term)
    • November 21, 2018 for Fall 2018 only
  • Fall-Spring academic year or Spring only
    • April 19, 2019 for the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 academic year or Spring 2019 only
  • Summer - at least 4 weeks prior to the end of the student's summer enrollment

If resolved afterward, the student may not receive aid for which he or she otherwise would have been eligible.
 

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently available for 2018-2019 FAFSA applications, which require 2016 federal tax data.
 
Students and the parents of Dependent aid applicants may use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool to import federal 2016 income tax information directly from the IRS into the 2018-2019 FAFSA. This option is built into the online FAFSA application process for 2018-2019.
 
NOTE: Please allow approximately two weeks from the date your electronically-filed federal tax return is accepted by the IRS to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool via the FAFSA. If you filed a paper tax return, please allow 6-8 weeks for processing by the IRS.
 

Eligibility to Use IRS Retrieval Tool

Students and/or parents are eligible to use the FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool if they:

  • filed federal tax return with the IRS
  • filed with tax filing statuses of “Married, Filing Jointly” or “Single”
  • have a valid Social Security Number
  • have a Federal Student Aid ID (an FSA ID may be acquired as part of the process)

Students and/or parents are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:

  • the home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return
  • marital status changed after December 31 of the tax year
  • tax filing status is “Married, Filing Separately” 
  • reported on FAFSA that marital status is married, but tax filing status is “Head of Household”
  • filed an Amended Tax Return
  • filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN)
  • did not or will not file a federal tax return
  • recently filed taxes, see NOTE immediately above on timing of availability

Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool while completing your FAFSA

  • If you indicate a federal tax return has been “Already Completed,” an information box will ask if certain situations apply. These situations are used to determine eligibility for use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be asked for your Federal Student Aid ID and you must click "Link To IRS."
  • The IRS will ask a series of questions to verify you are the taxpayer. 
  • Once you have verified your identity and the tax information is available, you must select “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” and click "Transfer Now" for the data to populate the FAFSA. Do not update any answers that say "Transferred from the IRS." If you do make any changes to the retrieved IRS data, the Student Financial Aid Office will require you to submit a Tax Return Transcript if your FAFSA is selected for Verification.

Correcting a processed FAFSA to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool via the "Make a correction" option under Returning User at www.fafsa.gov. After you have done so, UW Colleges will receive an updated copy of the student's FAFSA reflecting the income information you retrieved directly from the IRS.

  • Go to www.fafsa.gov, log in, and click on “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  • For parents, continue through the screens to the “Parent Financial Information” (for Dependent aid applicants who must provide parental information on the FAFSA).
    • Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
    • If eligible, select which parent and enter that parent’s Federal Student Aid ID
    • Click “Link to IRS.”
    • Enter the requested information, including address and tax filing status exactly as they appear on your tax return.
    • For your privacy, the tax information you transfer from the IRS into the FAFSA form won’t be visible to you. Instead, you will see “Transferred from the IRS” in the appropriate fields on fafsa.gov, the IRS DRT web page, and on the Student Aid Report
    • A message will confirm that the information was transferred.
    • Proceed to the Sign and Submit Page.
  • For students, go to the “Student Financial Information” page.
    • Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
    • If eligible, click “Link to IRS.”
    • Enter the requested information, including address and tax filing status exactly as they appear on your tax return.
    • For your privacy, the tax information you transfer from the IRS into the FAFSA form won’t be visible to you. Instead, you will see “Transferred from the IRS” in the appropriate fields on fafsa.gov, the IRS DRT web page, and on the Student Aid Report.
    • A message will confirm that the information was transferred.
    • Proceed to the Sign and Submit Page.

Benefits of using the FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Aid applicants selected for Verification are required to submit federal income tax information to the Student Financial Aid Office. Students and parents (if a Dependent aid applicant) that use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and do not change the income information in any way on the FAFSA will not usually be required to submit Tax Return Transcripts to the school, reducing the number of documents required if selected for Verification.

 

    Tax Return Transcripts

    The Student Financial Aid Office must collect a Tax Return Transcript for anyone who is selected for Verification and is ineligible to use the FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool. For the 2018-2019 FAFSA, provide the 2016 tax year

    • Parents who are married but filing separately must submit 2 separate IRS transcripts. The same applies to a married student and his or her spouse.
    • Tax filers are strongly encouraged to keep a copy of Tax Return Transcripts obtained from the IRS should they need copies in the future.

    The IRS will provide a Tax Return Transcript free for any tax filer. Be sure to order a Tax Return Transcript because this is free. Requesting an actual copy of a tax return will cost money.

    Get Transcript Online

    • Go to www.irs.gov and click the “Get Your Tax Record” option.
    • Click "Get Transcript Online" to receive a pdf file immediately.
    • Each taxpayer will need to create an account, including username and password, as well as, answer several challenge questions in case of a forgotten password. If the taxpayer already has an account, the account will need to be reactivated.
    • The IRS will send a confirmation code to the email account provided. This code must be used within 30 minutes. Be aware that the confirmation code email may go to your junk mail folder depending on your email security settings; within the allotted time, please look for the email there as well.
    • In order to verify the taxpayer's identity, he or she will be asked several questions related to his or her credit history. If the questions are answered incorrectly, the user is locked out for 24 hours.
    • Pop-up blockers will need to be turned off for the IRS website in order to access the pdf transcript.
    • Provide a copy of the Tax Return Transcript (for the 2018-2019 FAFSA, provide the 2016 tax year) to the Student Financial Aid Office. It is strongly advised that sensitive information such as a Tax Return Transcript not be transmitted/provided to UW Colleges by email.

    Get Transcript by Mail

    • Go to www.irs.gov and click the “Get Your Tax Record” option. 
    • Click "Get Transcript by Mail" to have a copy mailed to you; this takes 5-10 days.
    • Acknowledge the disclosure pop-up box that appears by clicking "OK."
    • Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code.
    • Click Continue.
    • Select “Return Transcript” and select the Tax Year (for the 2018-2019 FAFSA, provide the 2016 tax year).
    • Click Continue.
    • Once received, keep original and submit a copy to the Student Financial Aid Office.

    Get Transcript by Phone

    • Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
    • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security Number and the numbers of their street address. Generally, these will be the numbers of the street address that were listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
    • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter the tax year (for the 2018-2019 FAFSA, provide the 2016 tax year).
    • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.
    • Once received, keep original and submit a copy to the Student Financial Aid Office.