What is federal verification?
Based on information you provide on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your financial aid application may be selected for a process called federal verification. If you are selected, Student Financial Services will request additional information from you, which we will use to confirm that the information reported within your application for financial aid is accurate. As verification is a mandate from the United States Department of Education, you will not receive an official financial aid award until all requested SIS To Do List items have been completed and your application has been verified.
How will I know that I’ve been selected for verification?
If you’ve been federally selected for verification, your SAR will include a note indicating so. Student Financial Services may post to your SIS To Do List additional requests that will be required for us to complete verification. Click the link in your To Do List for more information about each item. Also, every student selected for verification will receive an email notice from us of their selection.
What is the deadline for completing verification?
Student Financial Services recommends that you submit verification documents as soon as possible upon being notified of your selection.
Verification is complete when we have reviewed all required documentation and the data in your financial aid application is accurate according to the documentation submitted. In general, verification must be completed by the last day of your enrollment during the school year that your application has been selected, unless you meet certain federal criteria to be considered for late disbursements. It is important to note that, once verification is complete, federal rules prohibit us from making certain changes to your financial aid award.
What happens if I do not complete verification?
If you choose not to or fail to submit verification documents, we will be unable to complete the review of your eligibility for federal financial aid and you will not receive a financial aid award..
In rare cases, a student who has already been awarded federal financial aid may be selected for verification after financial aid has disbursed. In the event that this happens, items will be added to your To Do List in SIS and you will be required to complete them. Failure to complete the To Do List items and comply with the verification requirements will result in your aid being cancelled and any future aid not disbursing. Any financial aid already disbursed against your charges will also be cancelled which may result in a balance on your student account.
If you are selected for federal verification but do not wish to complete the process and want to cancel your aid application, you should alert Student Financial Services by submitting the Financial Aid Application Cancellation Request for the appropriate academic year.
How will verification impact my eligibility and awards?
Performing verification sometimes requires us to make corrections or updates to the data that you reported within your application. If corrections have been made to your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), as early as the summer before the academic year starts.
Corrections to the data within the application may yield changes to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Student Financial Services will use the EFC from your verified application to determine your official financial aid award.
If you were not originally selected but you make changes to your FAFSA at any point during the year, or SFS makes corrections during the application review process, your application could then become selected. In these cases, items will be added to your To Do List in SIS and you will be required to complete them. Failure to complete the To Do List items and comply with the verification requirements will result in your aid being cancelled and any future aid not disbursing. Any financial aid already disbursed against your charges will also be cancelled which may result in a balance on your student account.
Information Required to be Verified
In most cases, students selected for verification must provide documentation to verify tax data. Prior to Spring 2017, one method for providing this data was the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The Department of Education has confirmed that the IRS data retrieval tool will be unavailable until at least October 2017, when the FAFSA for 2018-2019 becomes available. Parents and students must use an alternate method for supplying required information, such as providing an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
IRS Tax Return Transcript
In some cases, you may be required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript. If you receive such a request from our office, there are three ways you can request this document from the IRS. Most of these methods do not require the payment of a fee.
- Online - Go to www.irs.gov to request a paper transcript. The transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days and can be submitted to our office by mail or fax.
- Telephone - Call (800) 908-9946. A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please submit it to our office by mail or fax.
- IRS Form 4506T-EZ - A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please submit it to our office by mail or fax.
Other Requests for Additional Documentation
In addition to federal verification, you may be asked by Student Financial Services to provide additional documentation to help us determine your eligibility for state and institutional need-based funds. In such cases, To Do List items are placed in your SIS Student Center, and an email message is sent to you alerting you to the new To Do List item. As is the case with federal verification, we will not be able to complete your official financial aid award until all To Do List items have been completed.
As mentioned above, if you make changes to your FAFSA after your financial aid award is complete, you may still be selected for verification. In these cases, items will be added to your To Do List in SIS and you will be required to complete them. Most commonly, this will happen during the Fall term, but failure to complete the To Do List items will result in your Spring term aid not disbursing.
Student Financial Services conducts internal audits of financial aid awards throughout the academic year. These audits could result in a student being asked for additional documents and changes to a student's financial aid award. In the rare cases when there are changes, they are usually relatively small.
Verification for Individuals with Special Tax Situations
Individuals Who Filed an Amended IRS Income Tax Return
If an individual filed an amended IRS income tax return for tax year 2015, provide both of the following:
- An IRS Tax Return Transcript (that will only include information from the original tax return), or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that include all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and
- A signed copy of the 2015 IRS Form 1040X, “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that was filed with the IRS.
Individuals Who Did Not File and Were Not Required to File an IRS Income Tax Return
If an individual did not file an income tax return for tax year 2015 and was not required to do so, provide the following:
- A statement indicating that the individual did not file and was not required to file a 2015 income tax return, as well as the sources and amounts of income earned from work in 2015. The UVA Parent and Student Non-Tax Filer forms can be found in the Forms section for the relevant academic year.
- A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2015 and, if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s income for tax year 2015.
Individuals Who Were Victims of IRS Identity Theft
A victim of IRS identity theft who has been unable to obtain a 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript or use the IRS DRT must provide both of the following:
- A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS. Tax filers may inform the IRS of the tax-related identity theft and obtain a TRDBV transcript by calling the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1–800–908–4490. Tax filers who cannot obtain a TRDBV transcript may instead submit another official IRS transcript or equivalent document provided by the IRS if it includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and
- A statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Individuals Who Filed Non-IRS Income Tax Returns and Non-IRS Non-Tax Filers
If an individual filed or will file an income tax return with a foreign country, provide the most recent completed tax transcript obtained at no cost from the relevant taxing authority.
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with a foreign tax authority and who is unable to obtain the tax account information free of charge, must provide:
- Documentation that the tax authority charges a fee to obtain that information, and
- A signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority.
If you filed taxes in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, submit a signed copy of your income tax return.
If you filed taxes in American Samoa, submit a copy of your Tax Account Information.
Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS
If an individual is required to file a 2015 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, provide the following documents:
- A copy of the IRS Form 4868, ‘‘Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,’’ that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2015; and
- A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2015 and, if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s AGI and the U.S. income tax paid for tax year 2015.
- If an additional extension beyond the automatic six-month extension was approved by the IRS, provide a copy of the IRS additional extension approval for the tax year 2015.