The Department of Education randomly selects certain FAFSA records for a process called Federal Verification. When a FAFSA is selected, there are additional financial aid requirements necessary to confirm your financial aid eligibility. A message included in your FAFSA confirmation report (the SAR or Student Aid Report) will inform you of your selection for this process.
In order to satisfy the Federal Verification process, students and parents who filed a federal tax return must either use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (preferred) or submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid. Instructions on both of these steps are below. Please note, that even though you may have already submitted signed copies of federal tax returns, the requirement of the IRS Data Retrieval or tax transcript tool is still necessary when selected for Federal Verification.
This process is required of both the parents and students when they have filed federal tax returns.
Students and parents who file their IRS federal income tax returns are encouraged to select the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to transfer their tax information electronically to the FAFSA. This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application. This option is available during the initial filing or when subsequent corrections are made to your FAFSA.
Follow the following steps:
You will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval option if:
According to the IRS, this tool cannot be used until 1-2 weeks after electronically filing a tax return and 6-8 weeks after filing paper tax returns.
Please note: If you owed money to the IRS when filing your taxes, even if you submitted a payment with your tax return, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool may not be available to you until late June. For more information on timeframes, please see the bottom of this page.
If you are unable to utilize the tool for the above reasons, please submit a Tax Return Transcript - see the section below "Obtaining a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS."
*Please note that signed copies of your federal tax returns, along with all schedules and W-2 forms, still must be submitted via IDOC as part of the financial aid application process if you have not already done so.
When either a parent or student selects the IRS Data Retrieval option, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. As the federal income tax filer, you will be redirected to a secure IRS website, where you will permit the IRS to transfer income data to the CPS. Data that is successfully matched will be marked on the FAFSA with the following notation, “Transferred from the IRS.” It’s as simple as that. This process avoids reporting errors and processing delays that can otherwise occur when the option is not selected.
If your FAFSA is selected for Verification, and you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval option, or you changed the IRS data once transferred, you will be required to request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS, and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid (separately from your federal tax returns submitted as part of F&M’s regular financial aid application process).
There are three ways to request your Tax Return Transcript: online, by phone, or by mail. Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript.
The fastest way to obtain a Tax Return Transcript is to obtain it online. There are two ways to obtain the tax return transcript online: using the NEW “Get Transcript” option (an online service which will provide an electronic PDF version of an official IRS Transcript – which you can view, save, and print) or by ordering the Tax Return Transcript through the IRS and having it mailed to your home address.
To use “Get Transcript” (the electronic PDF version of your Tax Return Transcript), follow the options listed below:
To order a Tax Return Transcript online and have it mailed to your home address, follow the options listed below:
A Tax Return Transcript can be ordered by phone. Follow the options listed below:
A Tax Return Transcript can be ordered by mail. Follow the options listed below:
Obtain a Tax Return Transcript, which will show your information as originally filed and send it along with a copy of your 1040X (Amended Tax Return). Both the Tax Return Transcript and the Amended Tax Return Form 1040X are required for federal verification purposes, if you amended your federal tax return.
Electronically filed Tax Returns
Paper Tax Returns
ID Theft Cases