What Is Verification?
Some students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are selected for the verification process. There is nothing specific that will automatically cause you to be selected for verification. Nationwide, approximately 30% of the applications are selected.
The verification process requests that students and parents confirm the information that was submitted originally on the FAFSA. This involves having the student (and the parents) use the IRS Data Retrieval tool available on the FAFSA’s online page and providing Donnelly with a signed "Verification Worksheet.”
The following persons count in the household size of a dependent student’s parents, per the FAFSA's instructions:
The student and parents, even if the student is not living with them. Exclude a parent who has died or is not living in the household because of separation or divorce.
The student’s siblings and children, if they will receive more than half their support from the student’s parent(s). Siblings don’t need to live in the home. This includes unborn children and siblings of the student who will receive more than half support from the student’s parent(s) from birth to the end of the award year.
Other persons who live with and receive more than half their support from the student’s parent(s) and will receive more than half support for the entire award year.
If you or your parents reported on the FAFSA that you had no income, we may ask you to provide to us an explanation as to what resources were available to you to provide for your living expenses, such as housing and food.
IRS Data Retrieval Process
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents access to the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA. Both students and parents are able to transfer tax data directly into the FAFSA.
If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:
- It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data.
- It’s the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
- You won’t need to provide tax documents the school.
If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information, and Donnelly College requests a copy of your tax return or your parents’ tax return, you will be required to obtain an official Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. The IRS has a specific page dedicated to ordering a Tax Return Transcript.
Does Everyone Need to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Process (DRT)?
We highly recommend you use the IRS DRT. It reduces mistakes and makes the verification process go more quickly. You are not required to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), but if you have been selected for verification, and you did not use this feature, or you are unable to use this feature, you must provide us with a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. We cannot accept a photocopy of your federal tax return. If you initially completed the FAFSA without using the Data Retrieval Tool, you may be able to go back to www.fafsa.gov and use the DRT now.
When Can I Begin Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available soon after you have submitted your taxes electronically. If you submit your tax return in paper form, it takes about 8 weeks for the information to be available. If you were required to send the IRS money as a result of your return, the delay can be much longer as the IRS processes returns requesting a refund first.
Tax Return Transcript
If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool available online, and you have been selected for verification, you will need to obtain a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. This can be done online, by visiting an IRS Service Center or by calling 800-908-9946. There are occasions where you will not be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool. One example is if you or your parents have separated or divorced, or if either you (or your parents) used the filing status of Married Filing Separately.
If you or your parents are not required to file a federal tax return, we will request that you confirm this in writing. We will ask you to provide us with a detailed list of your income in the previous year, and a copy of all of the IRS form W2 you have received from your employers. If you indicated you did not file a federal tax return, we may request from you a signed copy of IRS Form 4506-T. This form allows us to ask the IRS to confirm your status as a non-filer.
If you indicate you had no income in the previous year, you may be asked to document how you were able to support yourself.
If you have tried using the DRT and it didn't work, and you have tried obtaining a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS using their automated telephone service and internet site and that also didn't work you can request a copy of your Tax Return Transcript using IRS Form 4506-T. We have a downloadable copy of this form here.