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What is Verification?

Verification is a process in which information on a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is reviewed for accuracy and helps the College to accurately and fairly determine the types and amounts of financial aid that a student is eligible to receive.

If an applicant is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, or by Charter Oak, additional documentation will be required to validate data reported on the FAFSA which includes income tax information. Please note that the Office of Financial Aid has the legal authority to request additional information and documentation to authenticate information reported on the FAFSA.

Students and parents are asked not to submit tax information or other documentation unless notified by the Office of Financial Aid to do so.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool for Tax Filers

2017-2018 Cycle

The IRS DRT is not available for students completing a 2017-2018 FAFSA form.

Applicants who are completing a 2017-2018 FAFSA will need to manually enter 2015 tax information (NOT 2016 TAX INFORMATION) onto the form.

For IRS tax filers who are selected for verification during the 2017-2018 FAFSA Cycle, in lieu of obtaining an IRS tax return transcript, a signed copy of the 2015 IRS tax return will be accepted to validate income and tax data. This applies only to the 2017-2018 award years. *If the College has any reason to doubt the authenticity of a 2015 tax return, a tax return transcript will be requested by the Office of Financial Aid.

Tax filers are advised to always retain a copy of their tax return and keep it in a secure place. If a copy of a return was not kept, there are several options to obtain tax data:

  1. Students and parents can access the tax software product used to prepare and file their 2015 IRS income tax return. In most cases, the software allows the tax filer to download and print a copy of the tax return.
  2. If a tax professional was used, students and parents can contact the preparer to request a copy of their 2015 IRS income tax return.
  3. IRS Tax Return Transcripts are available by accessing the Get Transcript Online portal. Transcripts can be ordered online or through the mail. Availability of transcripts are dependent on a number of factors including the method used to file, whether a refund or balance is owed, and when the tax return was filed.

2018-2019 Cycle

Beginning October 1, 2017, the IRS DRT will be available for students to use with the 2018-2019 FAFSA application. Additional security and privacy protections have been added to address identity theft concerns. Due to these concerns, tax information transferred from the IRS onto the FAFSA application will not be visible to applicants. Students will see "Transferred from the IRS" in the appropriate fields as shown below:

Screen shot of FAFSA page indicating 'You have successfully transferred your 2016 IRS tax information' and showing three FAFSA questions with 'Transferred from the IRS' next to them.

Amended Tax Returns

Applicants who change IRS data (by filing an amended tax return) must provide the following tax information to the Office of Financial Aid:

2017-2018 Cycle

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript or a signed copy of the original IRS tax transcript; and
  • a signed copy of Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS. Please note that amending a tax return is a two part process. The first step is to prepare a new tax return using Form 1040. The next step is to report the amended tax information on Form 1040 to the appropriate line item on Form 1040X. Please note that the Office of Financial Aid will request a copy of both the 1040X and corrected Form 1040.

2018-2019 Cycle

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript; and
  • a signed copy of Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS. Please note that amending a tax return is a two part process. The first step is to prepare a new tax return using Form 1040. The next step is to report the amended tax information on Form 1040 to the appropriate line item on Form 1040X. Please note that the Office of Financial Aid will request a copy of both the 1040X and corrected Form 1040.

Tax Filing Extensions

Applicants who have been granted a tax filing extension by the IRS must provide the following tax information to the Office of Financial Aid:

2017-2018 Cycle

  • 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; and
  • A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2015; 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.
  • For applicants who have requested an additional extension of filing time beyond the automatic six-month extension, a copy of the IRS's approval of extension will be required.

* Please note that it is the policy of the College to require those with a filing extension to submit a 2015 tax transcript or a signed 2015 copy of the IRS tax return after it has been filed so that tax information can be verified by the Office of Financial Aid. Please note that this may change the dollar amounts of grants and/or loan amounts that were originally awarded.

2018-2019 Cycle

  • 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 2016; and
  • confirmation of nonfiling from the IRS for tax year 2016 (must be dated on or after October 1, 2017): and
  • A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 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 2016.
  • For applicants who have requested an additional extension of filing time beyond the automatic six-month extension, a copy of the IRS's approval of extension will be required.

* Please note that it is the policy of the College to require those with a filing extension to submit a 2016 tax transcript after it has been filed or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool so that tax information can be verified by the Office of Financial Aid. Please note that this may change the dollar amounts of grants and/or loan amounts that were originally awarded.

Non-Tax Filers

Applicants who are non-tax filers must provide the following information to the Office of Financial Aid:

2017-2018 Cycle

  • Copies of 2015 IRS W-2 Forms for each source of income from work; and
  • IRS verification on Non-Filing

2018-2019 Cycle

  • Copies of 2016 IRS W-2 Forms for each source of income from work; and
  • IRS verification on Non-Filing (must be dated on or after October 1, 2017)

Additional documentation may also be requested by the Office of Financial Aid to verify all sources of untaxed income and benefits such as: child support received, worker's compensation, disability, and money paid or received on a parent's or student's behalf.

Victims of Identity Theft

Victims of tax related identity theft who are unable to get a tax return transcript are required to submit a Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript from the IRS. Additionally students must provide to the Office of Financial Aid a signed and dated statement indicating that they were victims of tax related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of it. Students who are victims of IRS identity theft can contact the IRS's Identity Protection Specialized Unit by calling (800) 908-4490. After the unit authenticates the tax filers identity, the student can request the IRS TRDBV transcript.

Additional Requests for Information

Additional documentation may be requested by the Office of Financial Aid for verification of untaxed income and benefits (even if income is excluded from the FAFSA). This may include, but is not limited to, collection of W-2 forms, child support payments received, payments made to tax-deferred pension and savings plans, and receipt of benefits from social services programs.

The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for resolving information that it believes to be discrepant or inaccurate and may request supporting documentation to clear data conflicts. Students or their parents may be asked to verifying marital status by providing copies of separation agreements or divorce decrees. If confirmation of state of legal residency is required, students may be asked to provide an unexpired driver's license or state issued id card. Student's may also be asked to provide high school completion status and bachelor's degree completion. If warranted, the Office of Financial aid may ask a student to submit missing college and/or university transcripts not previously received by the College

*If conflicting information is discovered after disbursing aid, the College is required to reconcile the differences and recalculate the student's EFC. If there is an over award, the student will be required to repay any excess funds. If a student is no longer enrolled, they will owe a Title IV overpayment and the College will notify the U.S. Department of Education of the over payment.