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FAFSA Verification Changes for 2012-13

FAFSA Verification Changes for Academic Year 2012-13

When students file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the Department of Education, approximately 1/3 of all applications are selected for a process called “Verification.”  When an applicant is selected for verification, the student and parents (if applicable) must submit additional information to the Financial Aid Office to verify the accuracy of the data submitted on the FAFSA.

The U.S. Department of Education has made changes to the verification process for 2012-13.

What this Means to You

When completing the FAFSA, you should use the IRS data retrieval process to verify income information submitted.  If your application is selected by the U.S. Department of Education for verification and you cannot use the data retrieval process or choose not to use the data retrieval process, then you (and your parents, if required), must submit a 2011 IRS tax return transcript (a document obtained directly from the IRS) .

We encourage everyone to use the IRS data retrieval process if it is available to you. Students and parents can no longer submit signed copies of their 2011 tax return to confirm income reported on the FAFSA.

Using the IRS Data Retrieval Process

Students and parents should wait approximately two weeks after electronically filing a 2011 tax return or approximately eight weeks if submitting a paper return before using the IRS data retrieval process. 

The retrieval process can be used when you first file the FAFSA or can be used as a correction to an already completed FAFSA. 

In a few instances, the IRS data retrieval process is not available to use.  In these cases, a 2011 IRS tax transcript must be submitted if your FAFSA application is selected for verification.  The Heartland Financial Aid Office will notify you via your Heartland email if your application was selected for verification.

Situations Where the IRS Data Retrieval Process Cannot be Used

The IRS Tax Retrieval process may not be available in the following circumstances:

  • If a joint tax return was filed for 2011 and the student or the student’s parents have filed the FAFSA with a marital status of separated, divorced or widowed.
  • If the parent or student was not married in 2011, but is married at the time the FAFSA is filed.  The current spouse’s income must be reported on the FAFSA and a tax transcript for both the student and spouse, or parent and step-parent must be submitted.
  • If the parents or the student is married but filed tax returns separately.
  • If an amended tax return was filed.
  • If an applicant filed a Puerto Rico tax return or foreign tax return.  In these cases, a signed copy of the 2011 tax documents must be submitted.

Requesting an IRS Tax Transcript

There are three ways tax filers can request an IRS tax transcript.

  • Online: Go to www.irs.gov.  Click on Individuals and then under the Tools section, click “Order a Transcript”.  A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days.  The tax transcript cannot be sent directly to the college.
  • Telephone: (800) 908-9946. A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days.  The tax transcript cannot be sent directly to the college.
  • IRS Form 4506T-EZ: Submit IRS Form 4506T-EZ.  Access the form through the IRS web site at www.irs.gov under Forms and Publications.  A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days.  Transcripts ordered using this method can be mailed directly to Heartland Community College by the IRS if you request this on line five of the form.