Verification is a process used to confirm that the information you provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accurate. Students are selected at random by system edits at the U.S. Department of Education or the university. This process can occur before or after a student is awarded financial aid. If you are selected for verification the UNI Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will request documents from you to verify the information you reported on your FAFSA. Submitting the requested documents in a timely manner helps to expedite the typical 7-10 day verification process.
How can I avoid delays in verification processing?
Submit all documents as quickly as possible. Make sure your UNI ID number is on each page of submitted documents. Double check that all documents are complete and signed by necessary individuals. Once you have submitted the requested information continue to check your email for subsequent important correspondence. As a reminder, students and parents should never send personal identifiable information, such as Social Security Numbers via email.
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 105 Gilchrist Hall,Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0024
Fax: (319) 273-6950
Will I still get my financial aid if I have been selected for verification?
Your financial aid will not disburse until we receive the requested information and any necessary changes have been processed. When verification is complete you will receive an email communication advising you to review your award notification online and accept/decline any new award.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows applicants who have already filed their federal income tax return to populate some answers on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by transferring data directly from their federal income tax returns. Eligible applicants who choose to use the tool when completing their FAFSA will be temporarily transferred to the IRS web site. After the applicant has authenticated themselves, the IRS web site will display the data to be transferred to the FAFSA. The applicant may then choose whether or not to transfer the data. If selected for verification, an applicant who has used the IRS Data Retrieval tool to transfer data, in most cases, will not need to turn in a copy of their tax return transcript to the school. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used 1-2 weeks after the federal income tax return is filed electronically and 6-8 weeks after filing a paper return. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available in early February each year to use on the initial FAFSA or corrections to the FAFSA. Learn more.
Who cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
The person did not indicate on the FAFSA that the tax return has been completed.
The marriage date is January 2016 or later.
The first three digits of the Social Security number are 666.
The person filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
The person is married and filed the tax return either as head of household or married but filing a separate return.
Neither married parent entered a valid Social Security number.
A non-married parent or both married parents entered all zeros for the Social Security number.
What is the difference between a tax return transcript and a tax return?
A tax return is the original document (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.) including schedules and additional supporting forms you or your tax preparer file with the IRS.
A tax return transcript is a line-by-line item listing of your tax return as it was originally filed with the IRS. Any schedules or additional forms filed will also be included in the transcript. The tax return transcript can only be obtained directly from the IRS and is used to verify the information submitted on your FAFSA.
What if I'm unable to retrieve my tax return transcripts?
Alternatives to tax return return transcript are not accepted until the authorized by Federal Student Aid. As of November 2016 individuals that are unable to retrieve the actual tax transcript for the 2016-17 FAFSA may submit the following:
- A signed copy of the relevant (i.e., applicant, spouse, or parent) 2015 IRS tax return that was filed with the IRS.
- A statement from the tax filer, on or attached to the tax return, which certifies that the tax return submitted to the institution includes the same information that was submitted to the IRS.
- Documentation from the IRS that the tax transcript request was unsuccessful.
- For tax filers who requested a tax transcript using the IRS online transcript request process (Get Transcript Online or by Mail), a signed and dated copy of the screen shot from the official IRS Web page that displays a message indicating that the tax transcript request was unsuccessful.
- Failure of a tax filer to successfully register for Get Transcript Online is not a sufficient reason for an institution to accept the alternative documentation discussed in this Electronic Announcement. In such a case, a tax filer must request a tax transcript using Get Transcript by Mail or by using paper Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T and provide documentation from the IRS that the tax transcript request was unsuccessful, if applicable.
- For tax filers who requested a tax transcript using IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T, a copy of the IRS response that was mailed to the tax filer stating that the IRS could not provide the tax transcript. The copy of the IRS response must be signed and dated by the tax filer.
- A completed and signed IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T that includes on line 5 the name, address, and telephone number of the institution as the third party to whom the IRS is to mail the 2015 IRS tax transcript. The institution should proceed with verification and simply retain the IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T and not submit it to the IRS. However, if the institution questions the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the paper tax return, it must, before verification can be completed, submit the IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T to the IRS and wait for the IRS to return the tax transcript or confirmation that a tax transcript is not available for that tax filer.
How do I get a copy of my tax return transcript?
If you are unable or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, an IRS Tax Return Transcript will be required. There are four ways to request a 2015 Tax Return Transcript:
Go to www.IRS.gov, click on “Get A Tax Transcript” to order tax transcripts via the mail (5-10 day processing time)
Use the IRS2GO mobile app
File Form 4506T-EZ
What if I file an extension of time to file my taxes?
You must turn in a copy of your IRS Form 4868 Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or if you have requested a further extension, a copy of the IRS’s approval of that. You must also provide copies of all your W2 forms, or if you are self-employed, a signed statement with the amount of your AGI. Once received we will process your verification and award your financial aid. Once your taxes have been completed you will be required to use the IRS Data Retrieval or turn in a Tax Return Transcript.
What if I file an amended tax return?
If you have filed or will file an amended tax return you will need to provide UNI with a transcript obtained from the IRS that lists tax account information of the tax filer for the 2015 tax year, as well as the amended return (IRS Form 1040X) filed with the IRS.
How do I request a tax transcript if I have been the victim of identity theft?
Students or parents who have been victims of Identity Theft who are unable to get a tax return transcript through one of the normal ways must contact the Identity Protection Specialization Unit (IPSU) of the IRS at (800)908-4490. After the IPSU authenticates the tax filer’s identity, the tax filer can request that the IRS mail them an alternate paper tax return transcript called the TRDBV (Transcript Database View). This form is only available by calling this number and will only be mailed to the tax filer.
Once you have received the Tax Return Database View (TRDBV) send it along with a statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that they were victims of IRS related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.