In response to concerns about the impact of the suspension of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on students and families who have been selected for verification of their FAFSA/ISIR information, Federal Student Aid has announced changes to the verification requirements for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 award years. These changes replace prior guidance on acceptable verification documentation including alternative documentation a school may accept and provide new flexibilities for schools. These flexibilities may be used by schools as part of their verification procedures and may be implemented immediately for both award years using 2015 income and tax year information.
IRS Tax Return Filers – In lieu of using the IRS DRT, or obtaining an IRS transcript, institutions may consider a signed paper copy of the 2015 IRS tax return that was used by the tax filer for submission to the IRS as acceptable documentation to verify FAFSA/ISIR tax return information.
Verification of Nonfiling – Institutions are no longer required to collect documentation obtained from the IRS or other tax authorities verifying that the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or the applicant’s parents did not file a 2015 tax return (often referred to as Verification of Nonfiling). However, as currently required, the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or the applicant’s parents, as applicable, must provide to the institution:
– A signed statement certifying that the individual has not filed and is not required to file a 2015 income tax return, and a listing of the sources of any 2015 income earned by the individual from work and the amount of income from each source; and
– A copy of IRS Form W–2, or an equivalent document, for each source of 2015 employment income received by the individual.
Additional Documentation Requirements – Some individuals may be required to submit additional documentation to verify their 2015 income and tax information. That information as well as all other verification requirements can be found:
For the 2016-2017 award year
– June 26, 2015, Federal Register Notice; and
– June 29, 2015, Dear Colleague Letter GEN-15-11
For the 2017-2018 award year
– April 1, 2016, Federal Register Notice; and
– April 5, 2016, Dear Colleague Letter GEN-16-07
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