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What is verification?

Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy.

The U.S. Department of Education or the Office of Financial Aid may, at any time, select your application for verification based upon the information you have provided. We are required to make sure that all aid is awarded to students according to federal, state, and institutional regulations. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.

Please note the deadline for submitting these documents is 5/21/2021 for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. Failure to provide the requested documents could result in the delay or denial of financial aid.

Why was I chosen for verification?

While there are several reasons why a student may be selected for verification some leading causes are:
• The submitted FAFSA application has incomplete data.
• The data on the FAFSA application appears to contradict itself.
• The FAFSA application has estimated information on it.
• Random selection

How do I verify my income?

The documents that we can now accept to verify your tax information have changed based on policy changes from the U.S. Department of Education. Either a tax transcript from the IRS, your Tax Return, or your FAFSA filed using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are the only ways to verify tax data.

If you have filed your taxes with the IRS, you should log into your FAFSA and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information. (see below for information on using the Data Retrieval Tool)  If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Financial Aid Office.
Personal copies of tax returns can be accepted as long as there is a valid signature and all schedules are included.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

Students and parents who filed their IRS tax return are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The IRS Data Retrieval transfers your IRS income tax information directly to your FAFSA. The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This option streamlines the processing of your application and avoids unnecessary delays in constructing your aid package. We strongly encourage you to select this option, in particular, when you first file your FAFSA; after the IRS has your tax return; or, when subsequent corrections are made to your FAFSA.
NOTE: Please allow approximately two weeks from the date you filed your tax return electronically to use the IRS Data Retrieval. If you chose to file a paper return, please allow 6-8 weeks for processing by the IRS.

To use the Data Retrieval Tool:

  • Log into www.fafsa.gov to correct your FAFSA
  • Click on the Financial Information tab at the top of the page
  • Click "LINK TO IRS" to transfer your income information to your FAFSA

Filers unable to use this tool:

  • Students and parents who did/will not file taxes
  • Students and parents who filed an amended tax return
  • Those with a tax status of Married, Filing Separately
  • Those who filed a foreign tax return

Click here to watch a YouTube video showing how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. (2:49 minutes)
~ Credit goes to the University of California, Santa Barbara for creating and providing this video!


Tax Transcript

**The fastest way to request your Tax Transcript is either by phone or online.**

Please make sure you request a Tax  Return Transcript. DO NOT request a Tax Account Transcript or Record of Account unless directed by our office to do so.

Ordering a Tax Transcript by Phone:

  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, then select the following prompts:
  • Option 2 (Personal Income Taxes)
  • Option 1 (Tax History)
  • Option 2 (Tax Return Transcript)
  • Enter and verify Social Security number (if joint return both SSN’s required)
  • Enter and verify number of street address
  • Press 2 for Tax Transcript and indicate which year (i.e. 2013)

Ordering a Tax Transcript Online:

  • Go to www.irs.gov, then select the following:
  • Click “Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript” located in the left-hand column
  • Click “Order a Transcript” under Step 3
  • Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code (Be sure to use the address currently on file with the IRS (generally this will be the address that was listed on the latest tax return filed; however, if an address change has been completed through the US Postal Service, the IRS may have updated the address on file).
  • Click Continue
  • In the TYPE OF TRANSCRIPT field, select “Return Transcript” and in the TAX YEAR field, select the appropriate year (i.e., 2016)
  • Click Continue

If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request – with 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS received the request.