FAFSA Verification Documentation
Please, don't be alarmed if you are notified via email to check your FAFSA eligibility and unsatisfied requirements. You will simply need to provide:
- the appropriate institutional verification form (dependent or independent), which can be found in Student Financial Aid Forms
- federal tax return information for both the student and parents (if dependent)
- W2s if you were not required to file tax returns.
You will be notified if additional documentation is needed for other specific information
reported on your FAFSA.
Two Ways to Provide Your Tax Return Information
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (preferred method)
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable for 2017-18.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is automatically provided to you when you complete the online FAFSA. For assistance in using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please watch this video tutorial created by the financial aid office at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
You or your parents will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if any of the following apply:
- you (or your parent) filed as head of household
- you (or your parent) filed as married filing separately
- you (or your parent) filed an amended tax return
- you (or your parent) filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
Submitting Your Information Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
If you are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provided through the FAFSA, your tax return information will be sent to us electronically within 7-10 days of your signing and submitting your FAFSA to us.*
*Tax information filed electronically within the last two weeks or submitted by mail within the last eight weeks may not be available through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Tax Return Transcript from the IRS
If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provided through the FAFSA, you must order a Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS and submit it to our office. There are several options for ordering a Tax Return Transcript; most are offered through the IRS website.
Once you are on the IRS website, you can find information about ordering a Tax Return Transcript by clicking on "Order a Return or Account Transcript" under the Tools section on the homepage. Be sure to order a Tax Return Transcript (not a Tax Account Transcript) for the necessary documentation.
If you have ordered a federal Tax Return Transcript and are experiencing difficulties receiving it in a timely manner, you may want to locate an IRS office near you, and visit the office in person to request the transcript.
Submitting Your Tax Return Transcript
Once you have received your Tax Return Transcript, it should be submitted to our office by email, mail or fax. If you are submitting your parents' Tax Return Transcript, be sure to write your name and the last four digits of your social security number on the top of each page so that the information can be linked correctly to your file.
Amended Tax Returns
If you filed an amended tax return, the U.S. Department of Education allows us to accept your federal tax returns. We will need a signed copy of your original federal tax return (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) AND your amended federal tax return (1040x).
If you have filed an extension for your tax return, you must submit two forms to our office: IRS Form 4868 and the Completion of Verification Based Upon 2015 Federal Tax Return Filing Extension Form.
Documentation Deadline and Participation
Our office begins awarding aid on our priority deadline of April 1. To prevent missing out on any limited funding sources, verification must be finished and your requirements on Self-Service Carolina satisfied. Even after April 1, be sure to satisfy your requirements as soon as possible. If selected, the verification process is required to be completed before you may be awarded federal financial aid.
If verification becomes necessary after you are initially awarded, your previously awarded aid may be placed on hold until your file once again becomes complete.