ALTERNATIVE ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTATION FOR VERIFICATION OF NON-FILING

ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) informed schools that the IRS has stopped processing transcripts by mail until further notice. Although IRS Tax Transcripts are available online, some filers have not been able to access their account. As a result, some students may have to submit alternative documentation to complete verification. According to a recent electronic announcement, schools can accept a signed statement certifying that the individual:

• Attempted to obtain the VNF from the IRS or other tax authorities and was unable to obtain the required documentation; and
• Has not filed and is not required to file an income tax return for the applicable tax year, and a listing of the sources of any income earned by the individual from work and the amount of income from each source for the applicable tax year; and
• A copy of IRS Form W–2, or an equivalent document, for each source of employment income received by the individual for the applicable tax year. During this period of national emergency, the Department is permitting institutions to accept a copy of a paystub, an employment offer letter, evidence of direct deposit from an employer, or other similar information for verification purposes. In the case of foster care youth, given the unlikelihood that such students would have earned enough to require them to file taxes, we will permit the institution to accept a signed statement from the foster care youth that he or she earned less than the amount that triggers the requirement for taxpayers to file tax returns.

If non-filing was a result of the taxpayer being granted an IRS extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for the tax year, an institution may accept the following:

• A signed statement certifying that the individual
• Attempted to obtain the VNF from the IRS or other tax authorities and was unable to obtain the required documentation; and
• Has not filed an income tax return and list the sources of any income, and the amount of income from each source for the applicable tax year. If self-employed, the signed statement must also include the amount of AGI and U.S. income tax paid for the applicable tax year;
• A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for the appropriate tax year; and
• A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received or an equivalent document for the applicable tax year.

In the event a student, parent, or spouse needs to provide a copy of their W2 but is unable to obtain a copy from the IRS, they may either request a duplicate one from the employer who issued the document, or if that’s not possible, may provide a signed statement attesting to their income that includes:
• The amount of income earned from work;
• The source of that income; and
• The reason why the IRS Form W–2, or an equivalent document, is not available in a timely manner.