The United States Department of Education (U.S.E.D.) continues to introduce significant changes to the FAFSA completion and verification processes for the 2013-14 year. These changes will be very different from what most applicants have been used to in the past and we want to alert you to some of the most important changes.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Again in 2013-14 most applicants will need to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) when completing the FAFSA. This online tool allows you to transfer your completed IRS tax return data directly to your FAFSA while using FAFSA on the Web to complete your FAFSA. Please note the these items:
- Currently, the IRS DRT is scheduled to become available on February 3, 2013. If possible, we recommend that you wait to complete your FAFSA until this date, or until you have completed your IRS tax return, assuming that you can still meet all applicable deadlines. The process will be more difficult for those selected for verification if they did not use the DRT.
- If you estimate your income when completing your FAFSA, around March 15th, you will receive an e-mail reminder to update the FAFSA with completed tax information. This is really from U.S.E.D. and is not a 'phishing’ email. You should make this update if you are able at that time.
- Students and parents who were eligible to use the IRS DRT but didn’t, will receive an e-mail notification encouraging them to return to FAFSA on the Web and use the DRT. These e-mails will be sent around the beginning of April 2013 or within 60 days of when you file your FAFSA.
Verification Changes for 2013-2014
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you are required to provide your school with documents to verify the accuracy of your FAFSA data.
- Beginning with the 2013-14 year, verification requirements will be more specific to the student. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will be placed into one of five groups defining the specific items you are required to provide. Don't worry, the Messiah College Financial Aid Office will inform you of exactly what you need to send us.You just need to wait to hear from us.
- In the past, income information was verified by the submission of signed copies of the IRS 1040. This is no longer acceptable. The best way to meet this requirement is to complete the IRS DRT as described above. If the DRT option does not work for you, an IRS transcript will be required for verification instead of a copy of the 1040. You will need to contact the IRS and order a tax transcript by one of these methods:
- On-Line - The IRS online ordering method, Order A Transcript, makes ordering simple.
- Phone"You may also request transcripts at1-800-908-9946.
- By Mail: Use IRS Form 4506T Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
- If you are a non-tax filer and you are selected for verification, you will need to send your school a copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2012. You will also need to submit a signed statement certifying that you have not filed, and are not required to file, an income tax return for tax year 2012. This statement must detail the sources of income earned from work as reported on the FAFSA and amounts of income from each source for tax year 2012 that is not on W-2s. Please note that the information mentioned in this paragraph is collected in Messiah College's Financial Information Verification Form, which will be sent to you if you need to proivde this information. It is not necessary for you to send a separate statement.