Verification

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the IRS and FSA announced on March 30,2017, the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov will be unavailable for the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

For your 2017-18 FAFSA, please refer to your 2015 tax return and import the numbers manually from the lines requested on your FAFSA, and order a tax return transcript from the IRS at www.irs.gov.

The IRS DRT has been enabled again for the 2018-2019 FAFSA as of October 1, 2017.

Verification

If your FAFSA has been selected for verification by the US Department of Education, you must turn in the required documents (shown on your EOU Webster account) before any federal or state financial aid will be disbursed.

What is Verification?

The U.S. Department of Education selects certain FAFSA applications to be checked for the accuracy of information.  This means the Financial Aid Office is required to gather specific documentation from the student to prove accurate FAFSA results.  Without this complete documentation, a student will not receive aid from the Federal Government.  Sometimes students will experience changes to their financial aid eligibility following the verification process.

For each FAFSA year, the base tax year is two years earlier. For example, the 2017-18 FAFSA uses the 2015 tax year and 2018-19 FAFSA uses the 2016 tax year.

Why was I selected?

FAFSA records are selected by the US Department of Education processor. Your school’s financial aid office does not have the selection criteria; however, many times, FAFSA records are selected because of errors made when a student and/or parent files the FAFSA.

The Department will use data-based statistical analysis to select for verification the FAFSA applicants with the highest statistical probability of error and the greatest impact of such error on award amounts.

What do I Need to Turn in?

You will need to turn in a verification worksheet and Federal tax documents (either IRS Data retrieveal tool, or Tax Return Transcripts and W-2s. The worksheet and information supplied by you is shown on your EOU Webster account at my.eou.edu.  Students will be notified via email of any changes to a student’s EFC or Title IV aid changes resulting from the verification process.

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Is a Verification of Nonfiling Letter Required to Complete Verification?

Yes for 2018-19. No for 2017-18.

2018-19 Award Year
Anytime a student is selected for verification, the following individuals who are nontax filers must submit an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling status from the IRS or other relevant tax authority, dated on or after October 1, 2017:

  • For a dependent student, each parent who did not file a tax return; and
  • For an independent student, the student and/or spouse who did not file a tax return.

The dependent student who is a nontax filer is not required to provide an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling status. All nontax filers, including dependent students, who are selected for verification must also provide:

  • A verification worksheet or written statement from each nonfiler certifying for the tax year that the individual has not filed and is not required to file an income tax return, as well as listing the sources of income earned from work and the amount of income from each source; and
  • A copy of a W-2 or equivalent document for each source of employment income.

Refer to the May 5, 2017 Federal Register and Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-05. The verification/confirmation of nonfiling letter is still required for a dependent student who filed for a tax extension beyond the initial automatic 6-month extension.

The individual can only request an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter in one of two ways:

  • By using the IRS “Get Transcript Online” tool on the IRS website; or
  • By completing, printing, and mailing IRS Form 4506-T and checking box 7.

When completing the Get Transcript Online tool, the tax filer can download and print the form and then deliver it to the financial aid office. When completing the 4506-T, the tax filer indicates whether he or she wants the letter sent directly to the him or her, or directly to the school. It’s the tax filer’s choice; it does not have to be mailed directly to the school. This letter only indicates that the individual has not filed a tax return; it does not indicate whether or not the individual was required to file a tax return.

The IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority is required any time a parent of a dependent student, independent student, or spouse nontax filer is subject to verification under verification tracking group V1 or V5. This includes any of these individuals who are subject to verification and who did not file taxes, regardless of the amount of income (even zero). For example, if a dependent student is selected for verification and the student and both parents on the FAFSA did not file taxes, then both parents (but not the student) will each need to provide an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter—in other words, two nonfiling letters would be required to complete verification.

Verification of Nonfiling Letter Alternatives. In some cases, an individual will not receive an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter, even after requesting one from the IRS. This is okay. Any IRS document is acceptable as verification of nonfiling if it is dated on or after October 1, 2017 and clearly indicates that the IRS does not have a tax return record from the individual for the tax year being verified. Such documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript or Tax Account Transcript with a message indicating “no record of return filed” or “no transcript on file” for the individual for the tax year; or
  • IRS Form 13873 clearly stating that the form is provided as verification of nonfiling, or stating that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the individual for the tax year.

See also AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Are There Exceptions or Alternatives to Collecting a Verification of Nonfiling Letter?

In the past, the U.S. Department of Education had announced it was going to build the Verification of Nonfiling Letter into the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), so nonfiling would be confirmed automatically. Unfortunately, the IRS has ruled this out; it won’t be happening. After the security breach that shut down the DRT, the IRS is reluctant to expand the DRT process.

2017-18 Award Year
For the 2017-18 award year, the Verification of Nonfiling Letter was required until the publication of GEN-17-04; after which, it was not required. The following is from GEN-17-04, Changes to 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Verification Requirements. This guidance is effective immediately and applies globally for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 award years regardless of when the FAFSA was filed, when the student was selected for verification, or whether verification was completed when GEN-17-04 was published. According to guidance NASFAA has received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), if you have already requested a verification of nonfiling letter from a student, you can simply waive or remove that request in your system.

Are There Exceptions or Alternatives to Collecting a Verification of Nonfiling Letter?

First, see AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Is a Verification of Nonfiling Letter Required to Complete Verification? 

Then, review the February 23, 2017 Electronic AnnouncementVerification – IRS Documentation Requests, Uses, and Messaging, and its attachment. You will note that a Verification of Nonfiling Letter is not available for request using the IRS toll-free phone number or the online Get Transcript By Mail service. The nonfiling letter can only be requested using the Get Transcript Online service or by mailing the 4506-T form to the IRS.

Nonfiling Letter Not Provided By the IRS
In some cases, an individual will not receive an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter, even after requesting one from the IRS. This is okay. Any IRS document is acceptable as verification of nonfiling (VONF) if it is dated on or after October 1, 2017 and clearly indicates that the IRS does not have a tax return record from the individual for the tax year being verified. Such documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript or Tax Account Transcript with a message indicating “no record of return filed” or “no transcript on file” for the individual for the tax year;
  • An IRS transcript request that comes back with a status of “requested data not found”; or
  • IRS Form 13873 clearly stating that the form is provided as verification of nonfiling, or stating that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the individual for the tax year.

There are different versions of IRS Form 13873, including the:

  • 13873-V, RAIVS Requests for Verification of Non-Filing of Taxpayer Accounts; and
  • 13873-T, RAIVS Requests for Tax Information Documents or Transcripts of Tax Accounts.

Any version of IRS Form 13873 is acceptable, as long as it contains a clear indication that it is provided as a verification of nonfiling or that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the tax year. If the individual did not properly or accurately complete his request for an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other IRS document, Form 13873 may be used by the IRS to communicate this to the individual. Such a communication is not acceptable for verification if it does not clearly indicate the IRS has no tax return on file. Such individuals should re-request the IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter by properly following IRS document request procedures (for example, a properly completed 4506-T).

There are instances when a tax transcript or other IRS document contains a message indicating the request “could not be processed” or the “request could not be honored.” Such documents are not acceptable as verification of nonfiling; instead, the individual should follow IRS instructions for re-requesting the IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or for obtaining further documentation clearly indicating there is no tax return on file for the individual for the tax year.

Individuals Who Cannot Request a Verification of Nonfiling Letter from the IRS (e.g., Undocumented Individuals)
When a parent of a dependent student or the spouse of an independent student living in the U.S. does not have a Social Security Number (SSN), an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or an Employer Identification Number (EIN), he is unable to obtain a Verification of Nonfiling Letter from the IRS. If their income is belowthe IRS filing threshold, these individuals do not need a verification of nonfiling letter and instead must submit to the institution:

1) A signed and dated statement:

  • Certifying that the individual does not have a SSN, an ITIN, or an EIN, and
  • Listing the sources and amounts of earnings, other income, and resources, that supported the individual for the tax year; and

2) If applicable, a copy of the W–2 for each source of employment income received for the tax year, or an equivalent document.

If the undocumented individual’s income is above the IRS filing threshold, that individual must file a tax return. See AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, How Do We Complete Verification for an Undocumented Individual Who Did Not But Is Required to File a Tax Return?

Residents of Foreign Countries

If the individual lives in a foreign country that is unable to provide a Verification of Nonfiling Letter or confirmation of nonfiling from the relevant tax authority, that individual should provide the school with the above information, along with proof of that taxing authority’s filing requirements. This might involve obtaining something directly from the taxing authority, or providing information that may be available on the taxing authority’s website. If such documentation does not exist, or if the individual is unable to obtain the documentation, the individual may provide a signed and dated statement indicating either that the taxing authority does not provide such documentation, or that the individual was unable to obtain the documentation after contacting the taxing authority.

While ED’s guidance does not specifically address instances when the foreign country does not have a taxing authority, it would be consistent with ED’s guidance to document that the foreign country does not have a taxing authority. As such, the individual may provide either a website confirmation or a signed and dated statement indicating the country does not have a taxing authority.

Deadlines:

If you are selected for verification, all required documentation must be submitted to the financial aid office and processed before any federal aid is disbursed, or before a Federal Direct Loan will be originated.  Consequences for failure to provide the required verification materials, is financial aid will remain incomplete and will not be disbursed.

The verification process must be completed before the last day of enrollment for the current academic year or 90 days after last enrollment.  The Financial Aid Office must originate all Direct Loans by the last day of enrollment.  The Financial Aid Office does not originate loans until the verification process is complete.

If you have been offered an Oregon Opportunity Grant for Fall term, verification must be completed before Fall reporting is closed, which is typically around the seventh week of the term, or you will lose all eligibility for the year.  Submit documents early.

 

Instructions:


Eastern Oregon University

Verification Worksheet Directions

For DEPENDENT & INDEPENDENT STUDENTS

Federal Student Aid Programs

 

Your application was selected by the Department of Education for review in a process called “Verification.”  The law says that before awarding Federal Student Aid, we must ask you to confirm the information that you and your spouse (if you have one) or you and your parent(s) reported on your FAFSA.  We will compare your FAFSA with the information on this worksheet and with any other required documents.  If there are any differences, your FAFSA information may need to be corrected.  If corrections are needed, the Financial Aid Office will do those for you.  Please, make no further corrections to your FAFSA.  You must complete and sign a worksheet, attach any required documents, and submit the form and documents to the financial aid office.  If you have questions, please contact our office right away.

You financial aid award is only estimated until this process is complete.  The Department of Education will send you an email notification if there is a change to your FAFSA.  You will be notified by an email to your EOU email account if corrections result in a change/cancellation of any award(s).

The main difference between dependent and independent is that for a dependent student, all of these instructions will be for both the student and his/her parent(s).

Directions for Independent (Dependent) Students:  (Adobe Reader DC required; download file and view in Reader for best results)

Submit the completed Independent (Dependent) Verification Form. Fill the form out completely. Do not leave areas blank that require a dollar amount. If the answer is $0, write that in the space provided.  When you complete the form, make sure that you sign it.

Family Information: List the people who live in your household that you (or your parents) will support, including yourself. If the number in household and/or number in college you are reporting on the Verification Worksheet does not match the number(s) you reported on the FAFSA, you may be asked to submit a written explanation of the discrepancy, which must be signed and dated by you.

Independent students,  include:

  • yourself (and your spouse),
  • your children, if you will provide more than half of their support between July 1 of the academic year and June 30 of the academic year, and
  • other people if they now live with you, you provide more than half of their support and you will continue to provide more than half of their support between July 1 of the academic year and June 30 of the academic year.

Dependent students, include:

  • yourself, even if you don’t live with your parents,
  • your parents,
  • your parents’ other children if (a) your parents will provide more than half of their support between July 1 of the academic year and June 30 of the academic year, or (b) the children could answer “No” to every question in Step Three on page 5 of the FAFSA, and
  • other people if they now live with your parents, your parents provide more than half of their support and your parents will continue to provide more than half of their support between July 1 of the academic year and June 30 of the academic year.

Income Verification: If you (and your parents) successfully completed the IRS data retrieval tool (DRT) for your FAFSA, you do not need to send an IRS Tax Return Transcript. If you did not use the DRT and wish to complete it, you can find a video on YouTube to help you through the IRS Data Retrieval proves: http://www.youtube.com/ucsbfinaid.  If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste it into your address bar.

If you did not, or choose not to use the data retrieval tool, then submit a 2015 (for 1718) or a 2016 (for 1819) Federal Tax Return Transcript. If you and your spouse (or parents) filed separately, you will each need to submit a tax return transcript.  You can print your tax return transcript by going to this website and following the instructions: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript

If you were unable to obtain an IRS Tax Transcript following the period after the IRS processes 2015/2016 income tax returns.  You may use the following, alternate documentation.  You must supply all three documents.

  1. A signed copy of the relevant (i.e., applicant, spouse) 2015/2016 IRS tax return.
  2. A copy of the IRS response that was provided to the tax filer stating that the IRS could not provide the requested transcript. The copy of the IRS response must be signed and dated by the tax filer.
  3. IMPORTANT: In addition to the documentation specified above, the tax filer must also provide to the institution a completed and signed IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T that includes on line 5, “Eastern Oregon University, Financial Aid Office, One University Blvd, Inlow Hall 104, La Grande, OR  97850-2899; 541-362-3550” as the third party to whom the IRS is to mail the 2015/2016 IRS Tax Return Transcript.

The following schedules and forms are also required.  Not everyone will have these.  If you or your spouse (or you or your parents) have or used any of these forms, please submit a copy of each:

  • W-2’s (for everyone who worked)
  • Schedule C (business income)
  • Schedule F (farm/ranch income)
  • Schedule K-1 (S-corporation shareholder income)
  • 1099R (distributions from IRS, pensions, annuities, etc.)

Amended Tax Return: If you (or your parents) filed an amended tax return you must provide signed copies of both your IRS Tax Return Transcript and your 1040X forms.

Other Tax Returns: If you filed taxes in Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, a signed copy of that filed tax return is acceptable documentation.

Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau & Federated States of Micronesia: A copy of the individual’s Wage and Tax Statement from each employer that provided such a statement and a signed statement identifying all of the individual’s income and taxes for the year is acceptable.

Other Foreign Countries: In cases where the filer filed a tax return or a similar document with a foreign country, signed copies of that tax return or their documentation, using income and tax information (converted to U.S. dollars) that corresponds most closely to the income information reported on as IRS tax return is acceptable.

Non-Filers: If you did not file taxes, you need to write a letter certifying:

  • You did not file and are not required to file;
  • List the sources of your income and the amount of income from each source not reported on a W-2;
  • A copy of each W-2 for 2015 (for 17-18) or for 2016 (for 18-19); and
  • A statement explaining how you survived and paid bills in 2015/2016
  • You must also submit verification of non-filing

Student (and Parent) Income and Assets: We need to ask about the value of any assets you may have.  These numbers must reflect the value at the time the FAFSA was filed.

DO NOT include: a small business if it is owned and controlled by the student (and spouse, if appropriate) and has 100 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees, your principal place of residence or a family owned and operated farm, or retirement funds (ex: IRA, KEOGH, etc.).  If the answer is $0, enter that number.

Remember, the value of an asset is always the value minus any debt owed.

Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS

If an individual is required to file a 2015/2016 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, provide the following documents:
§ A copy of IRS Form 4868, ‘‘Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,’’ that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2015/2016;
§ A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2015/2016; and
§ A copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2015/2016 and, if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for tax year 2015/2016.
§ A verification of non-filing letter as stated above for non-filers.