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.
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.
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.
The IRS Tax Retrieval process may not be available in the following circumstances:
There are three ways tax filers can request an IRS tax transcript.