Federal Verification

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?

After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report, or SAR. 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.

 

What is the deadline for completing verification?

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. Student Financial Services recommends that you submit verification documents as soon as possible upon being notified of your selection.

 

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.

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 had 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.

 

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), beginning in 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 had 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. There are two options to complete this requirement: (1) using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or (2) obtaining an IRS Tax Return Transcript. Please read the details of each option below and select the method that best fits your circumstances.

 

Option 1: IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

http://sfs.virginia.edu/sites/sfs.virginia.edu/files/IRS%20DRT.png

Click here to enlarge this image.

Instead of requesting this document from the IRS, we recommend that you take matters more directly into your own hands by using the IRS DRT. To use the IRS DRT, log in to FAFSA on the web at www.fafsa.govClick here for a tutorial on how to use the IRS DRT.  Please note that entering students should not use the IRS DRT if they have already received their preliminary financial aid award. 

 

Instructions for the PARENT to request the parent IRS information:

  1. Go to "Parent Financial Information" page
  2. Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT
  3. If eligible, choose Parent 1 or Parent 2
  4. Enter the Federal Student Aid FSA ID for  you, the parent selected
  5. Click "Link to IRS"
  6. Enter biographical data from the tax return
  7. Review the information displayed, select the "Transfer My Information into the FAFSA" box and click "Transfer Now".
  8. If you only need to correct parent information, proceed to the Sign and Submit page.  If you also need to correct student information, proceed to the instructions below before you proceed to the Sign and Submit page.

For this process to be successful, it is critical that BOTH the parent of a dependent student and the student sign the corrected FAFSA and submit it.  After you submit it, you will receive an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) that will confirm the corrections you made.

 

Instructions for the STUDENT to request the student IRS information:

  1. Go to "Student Financial Information" page
  2. Answer the questions in the first box to see if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT
  3. If eligible, click "Link to IRS"
  4. Enter biographical data from the tax return
  5. Review the information displayed, select the "Transfer My Information into the FAFSA" box and click "Transfer Now".
  6. Proceed to the Sign and Submit page.

For this process to be successful, it is critical that BOTH the parent of a dependent student and the student sign the corrected FAFSA and submit it.  After you submit it, you will receive an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) that will confirm the corrections you made.

 ** If you and/or your parent(s) are not eligible to use the IRS DRT, the IRS Tax Return Transcript must be requested and submitted to our office.

 

Option 2: 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 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.

 

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 both of 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 on the Student Financial Services website in the Forms section for 2016-2017.
  • 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 a 2015 income tax return with Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory (e.g., Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas Islands), or with a foreign country, provide a 2015 tax transcript obtained at no cost from the relevant taxing authority of the U.S. territory, commonwealth, or other country. If a free tax transcript is not obtainable, provide a signed copy of the original 2015 income tax return(s). Residents from the above countries or territories who were not required to file an income tax return under their taxing authority’s rules must provide both of the following:

  • A copy of their Wage and Tax Statement, or equivalent documentation, for each source of employment income received for 2015; and
  • A signed statement identifying all of the individual’s income and taxes for tax year 2015.