If you’ve been selected for verification, don’t assume you’ve done anything wrong. Your school is just checking to make sure your FAFSA data is correct. Provide the documentation your school asks for to avoid delays in receiving your aid.
The required documents will be shown on your EOU Mountie Hub (Webster) account and must be received and processed before any federal or state financial aid will be disbursed.
What is Verification?
Verification is a federal aid eligibility review process required by The U.S. Department of Education. For this process, EOU is required to verify that the information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accurate. We complete the verification process by comparing FAFSA data with federal tax documents* and other forms you provide to the EOU Financial Aid Office. Corrections to your FAFSA and college financing offer may be necessary if discrepancies are found. Without complete documentation, a student will not receive federal or state financial aid.
- *Each academic year’s (AY) FAFSA EFC is calculated from and based upon a tax year two years prior (prior-prior year or PPY) to the AY. For example, the 2019‑20 FAFSA bases your EFC on the 2017 tax year and the 2020‑21 FAFSA will use the 2018 tax year. We will ask you for tax and income information from the FAFSA base year.
Why was I selected?
FAFSA records are selected by The U.S. Department of Education’s processor. The 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.
“If the Secretary [of Education] selects an applicant for verification, the applicant’s Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) includes flags that indicate (1) that the applicant has been selected by the Secretary for verification and (2) the Verification Tracking Group in which the applicant has been placed. The Verification Tracking Group indicates which FAFSA information needs to be verified for the applicant and, if appropriate, for the applicant’s parent(s) or spouse. The Student Aid Report (SAR) provided to the applicant will indicate that the applicant’s FAFSA information has been selected for verification and direct the applicant to contact the institution for further instructions for completing the verification process.”
What Documents do I Need to Supply?
You will need to turn in a verification worksheet (either dependent or independent) and federal tax documents (i.e. IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or Tax Return Transcripts (TRT)). You may also need to submit W-2s and/or other worksheets. Documents that you submit will be shown as satisfied on your EOU Mountie Hub (Webster) account at my.eou.edu. Students will be notified via EOU email when their verification is complete. Any changes to a student’s EFC or Title IV aid changes resulting from the verification process will be updated to the Award for Aid Year screen in Mountie Hub (Webster).
Nontax filers (except for dependent students) will need to provide proof from the IRS of nonfiling (i.e. Verification of Nonfiling Letter (VNF)).
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, of the FAFSA base year:
- 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. 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, of the base year 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.
First, see AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Is a Verification of Nonfiling Letter Required to Complete Verification?
Then, review the February 23, 2017 Electronic Announcement, Verification – 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, of the FAFSA base year 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 below the 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.
If you are selected for verification, all required documentation must be submitted to the financial aid office and processed before federal and state grant aid is disbursed or before a Federal Direct Loan will be originated. Failure to provide the required verification materials will prevent disbursement of federal and state aid and may result in permanent loss of eligibility for the terms in question.
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 have originated 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 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.
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 information. Until all of the verification documentation has been received and processed, a student will not receive aid from the Federal Government. Sometimes students will experience changes to their financial aid eligibility following the verification process.
We have a verification worksheet that provides us all of the information you will need to submit to process your verification. The questions asked on the verification worksheet are required by the Department of Education. It is important that you complete the correct verification worksheet for your student type.
If you are a student that is required to provide parent information on the FAFSA, you are considered a Dependent Student. If you do not need to provide parent information on the FAFSA, you are considered an Independent Student.
If you are unsure about which verification worksheet you need to fill out, you can use your Webster account to see which worksheet has been requested.
Simply follow these steps.
1. Log into Webster through your One Login portal
2. Click on Student Services and Financial Aid
3. Click on Financial Aid
4. Click on My Eligibility
5. Click on Student Requirements.
This page of your Webster account will show you what is requirements are outstanding and need to be completed for your financial aid to pay out. It will also show you exactly what documents are needed.
Dependent students will need to submit the following information:
Dependent Verification Worksheet
Tax Return Transcript or IRS Data Retrieval Tool completion – for both Student and Parent Tax Filers
W-2’s (schedule C, K, F) – for both student and parent Non-Tax Filers
If you were able to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA, we will not need Tax Return Transcripts.
Independent Verification Worksheet
Tax Return Transcript or IRS Data Retrieval Tool completion – For student and spouse if married for Tax Filers
W-2’s (schedule C, K, F) for student and spouse if married for non-tax filers
If you are married and you and your spouse successfully completed the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA, we will not need Tax Return Transcripts.
The verification worksheets can be found on the EOU website eou.edu/fao/fao-forms/
Make sure that you select the correct aid year and the correct style of worksheet. You will notice we have a regular worksheet and a short form for each dependent and independent student. The short form asks the same questions, but does not have any of the details listed. For this presentation, we are going to be using the regular form which has additional detail for each question.
We are going to begin by going over the Dependent Verification worksheet. If you are an Independent student, use the links in the comment section to skip to the Independent Verification worksheet section.
Section A is the students contact information. Please use the address that is your legal residence. For most students, this is their parents address.
Section B is household information. In this section, you will list everyone in your house. Yourself, your parent or parents, siblings under the age of 24, any other dependents that receive at least 51% of their support from your parents. You will need to list name, age, relationship to you, where they are going to college, and if they will be enrolled in college at least ½ time. If they are not in college, you can leave that box blank.
Section C goes over Parent Tax Information. If parents filed taxes, they check the box that says yes. If they had any of the three unusual circumstances they will check the corresponding box. If not, they will check no and complete Subsection C1. If your parent did not Filed taxes, they will check no. If your parent files a non-IRS income tax return, they will need to download the supplemental form for Individuals with Unusual Circumstances. If your parents will not file taxes and are not required to, they will need to download the supplemental form for Parent Non-Tax Filers. In both instances, you will skip to section D
Section C1 asks if the parent used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If the parent has not used the Data Retrieval Tool, this section helps get a copy of their Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. It is important to note that we are required to use the Tax Return Transcript to complete verification. We are not permitted to use a copy of the Tax Return.
Section D asks the same Tax filing questions for the student. If you filed taxes, check yes. If you had any of the three unusual circumstances check the corresponding box. If not, check no and skip to section D1. If you did not file taxes, check no. If you filed a non-IRS income tax return, check yes and download the supplemental form for individuals with Unusual Circumstances. If not, skip to section D2.
Like the parents, sections D1 asks if the student used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If not, it helps get a copy of the Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.
For students who did not file taxes, you will want to complete section D2. If you were not employed, check the corresponding box. If you were employed but did not file taxes, please list where you worked, if the W-2 is attached, and how much you made in wages. We will need a copy of all W-2’s in order to process your verification. Please initial the box stating that you did not file taxes and were not required to file taxes.
Section E asks about Student and Parent Assets. If the answer is not applicable, please enter a 0 in the box. These questions are asked based on the day you did your FAFSA. IRA and Retirement plans are not considered investments for Verification purposes.
Section F is the certification of your verification worksheet, stating that you are providing accurate information to the best of your knowledge. Please read through this page, check the box stating you answered all applicable questions and attached all required documentation, and sign. The student and one parent are required to sign the verification worksheet.
Now onto the Independent Verification worksheet. Dependent students, please use the link in the comment section to skip to tax information.
Now let’s review the Independent Verification Worksheet.
Section A asks for your contact information. Please use your permanent address
Section B asks for your household information. Please list yourself, your spouse if married, your children that you provide at least 51% of their support, other dependents that live with you that you will provide at least 51% of their support. You will need to list their name, age, relationship to you, where they are attending college, and if they will be enrolled at least ½ time. If they are not in college, you can leave that box blank.
Section C asks about Student Tax filing. If you filed taxes, please check the yes box. If you had an unusual circumstance, please also check the corresponding box. If you did not have an unusual circumstance, check the corresponding box and skip to section C1. If you did not file a US Income Tax Return, please check no. If you file a non-IRS income tax return, check yes and download the supplemental form for Individuals with Unusual Circumstances. If you will not file a non-IRS income tax return, please check no and skip to section C2
Section C1 asks if you the student used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA. If you did, select the corresponding box. If you did not, this section helps get a copy of your Tax Return Transcript for the IRS. It is important to note that we are required to use the Tax Return Transcript to complete verification. We are not allowed to use a copy of your Tax Return.
Section C2 asks students who did not file taxes about their work and income. For students who did not work and had no income, please provide us an explanation of how you were able to support yourself and your household for the year.
If you were employed but did not file taxes, please list where you worked, if the W-2 is attached, and how much you made in wages. We will need a copy of all W-2’s in order to process your verification. Please initial the box stating that you did not file taxes and were not required to file taxes. If you are married, we will also need your Spouses initials if you are both non-tax filers.
For Independent Students who are Non-Tax Filers, you will need to order a Verification of Nonfiling Letter. This letter may be obtained either online at www.irs.gov or by completing a 4506-T form and faxing the completed form to the IRS.
Section D asks about Assets information for the Student as of the day you completed your FAFSA. IRAs and Retirements are not considered investments for verification purposes.
Section E is the Certification of your Verification worksheet, stating that you are providing accurate information to the best of your knowledge. Please read through this page, check the box stating you answered all applicable questions and attached all required documentation, and sign the verification worksheet.
Now onto the next section for both dependent and independent students:
In order to process your verification, we are required to check your Tax information. You can provide us this documentation through one of two ways.
1. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA
2. Order a Tax Return Transcript.
This next section will go over how to do both of these options.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool pulls your tax information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. If your taxes are correct, the information will load in correctly. This information comes in redacted, so your personal tax information is only available to the financial aid office that you listed on your FAFSA.
During the FAFSA application, you will be asked about filing taxes. For this presentation, we are going to look at the student section screenshots. The Parent section looks exactly the same, so be sure you read the tab headers in your FAFSA.
Answer the questions of did you file taxes and what your filing status was. Then answer if you file a Puerto Rican or foreign Tax return. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can click on the link to IRS button. By clicking this button, you will be taken the IRS Website.
From there you will enter your information EXACTLY as it is found on your Tax Return. Some of the information will already be entered for you. It is important to note that this needs to be completed exactly how your taxes are done. If you live on Jackson Street and “Street” is spelled out, you will need to spell out street. If it is listed as “Jacks S T”, you will need to type in “Jacks S T”. Once your information is entered, click submit.
The next page will show you exactly what information is going to be transferred to your FAFSA. Check the box stating you want to transfer your information, then click Transfer Now.
This will take you back to the FAFSA and you will see that your information was transferred into your FAFSA from the IRS website.
If you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA, or do not want to use it, you can order a Tax Return Transcript. To order a Tax Return Transcript, you will need to log on to www.irs.gov and click on Get your Tax Record. This will give you the option to create an electronic account where you can download a PDF of your Tax Return Transcript, or order one by mail.
Click on Get your Tax Record
Choose if you would like to create an electronic account and download a PDF of your Tax Return Transcript, or order one by mail.
If neither of these options work, you can order a copy of your tax Return Transcript using a 4506-T or 4560T-EZ form. We recommend typing your information into the form, printing, and then signing your form. The IRS requires that this form be clear of all mistakes and legible. We have seen requests be denied, as forms were either too hard to read, had things crossed out, or forgotten. If you need assistance completing this form, please feel free to contact us in the Financial Aid Office.
You can also contact your local IRS office and they may be able to help you get a copy of your Tax Return Transcript.
Please make sure that you order a “Tax Return Transcript.” There are other options, so be sure you are ordering the “Tax Return” Transcript. Please also make sure to order the correct tax year.
Once you have completed the entire verification worksheet, and compiled all of your necessary additional documentation, you will want to send all completed documentation and attachements to our office. You can submit your verification documents a number of ways.
You can scan and email your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org;
You can fax your documents to 541-962-3661;
You can send your documents to our online dropbox – https://static.eou.edu/share-file/financial-aid/html;
You can mail your documents to ATTN: Financial Aid Office, Eastern Oregon University, One University Blvd IH 104, La Grande OR 97850;
Or you can drop your documents off in our office, Inlow Hall 104, on the main EOU campus in La Grande.
Once we have received your documentation, we will begin processing your verification. It is important to submit your verification documents as soon as possible, so we can have your information processed and updated prior to the start of the term.
Verification does prevent Federal and State financial aid from paying out to your student account. Since processing your verification may change your financial aid award package, we will send you an email letting you know your verification has been processed. You can use your Webster account to view your updated financial aid package.
If you have any questions at all during this process, please reach out to our office. You can email us at email@example.com, call us at 541-962-3551 or come into our office Inlow Hall 104. One University Blvd, La Grande OR 97850. We are open Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm. You are welcome to schedule a time to meet with a counselor or just stop in and someone will be happy to help you with this process.
Thank you and have a great day!
Other Situations May Require Different or Additional Documentation
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
- Ways in which you can order transcripts from the IRS: Verification – IRS Documentation Requests, Uses, and Messaging
- A Verification of Non-filing Letter may be obtained through:
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.
§ 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.