Federal Verification Questions

Please note that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently down. It appears to be available within the FAFSA, but is not functional. Students will need to request a Tax Return Transcript instead of utilizing the Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA. We have been told by the US Dept of Education that it will be up and running in October 2017.


Do I have to complete the verification process? 

Technically, no. But, by not completing the verification process, a student could potentially forfeit their eligibility for financial aid (including federal, state and St Olaf funds).

Why do I need to give you this information? Isn’t it on the FAFSA? 

The purpose of the Federal Verification process is to confirm that the information reported on the FAFSA is correct. If any information is incorrect, we must make corrections and submit them to the U.S. Department of Education for reprocessing. Every student and family that files the FAFSA agrees to “If asked, provide information that will verify the accuracy of this completed form”. 

What if the student or parents didn’t file a federal tax return? 

If federal regulations do not require you (or your parents) to file a return, simply indicate that you did not file a tax return on the St Olaf Verification Form. Please submit all completed verification forms along with a copy of all W-2 forms to our office. If you (or your parents) were required to file a federal tax return but did not, we will be unable to review your aid application until the tax return is filed. 

How long do I have to wait after I file my taxes to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or request a Tax Return Transcript? 

In general, tax filers can anticipate that IRS data will be available three weeks after an electronic filing, or eight weeks if the return is mailed in paper form. 

What is the difference between a Tax Return Transcript, a Tax Account Transcript and a 1040 Tax Return? 

A Tax Return Transcript is a line by line summary of the actual tax return that was filed with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Tax Return Transcripts can only be completed by the IRS. The 1040 Tax Return can be completed by tax filers or any company that prepares tax returns. The 1040 tax return will not meet the requirements for federal verification. The tax account transcript shows the most basic data from your return and includes any adjustments a student/parent has made after filing the original return. This also will not meet the requirements for federal verification. 

Is anything else needed after I submit the verification forms, taxes and W-2s? 

Maybe. After reviewing the documents you submitted, our office may need to request additional information and/or documentation to resolve any discrepancies. We ask you to respond quickly to these requests as this will help us to finalize the verification process. 

What if I (or my parents) have applied for a tax extension? 

Please provide our office with a copy of your Form 4868 (the request to file an extension for your federal return) and W-2 forms.  Financial Aid will not be disbursed to the student account until we have a Form 4868, W2’s and all other verification requirements have been fulfilled.