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
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:
Important Information for Financial Aid Students Ordering Tax Return Transcripts
Moving to better protect taxpayer data, the Internal Revenue Service has implemented a new format for tax return transcripts that will redact personally identifiable information (PII). Identifying information, including names, addresses, SSN’s, will now be partially redacted from the tax return transcript, but all money amounts will be visible.
The new transcript, with redacted PII, went into effect on September 23, 2018.
Based on the limited information that will now be displayed on the tax return transcript, students are required to reference their name and student id on their tax return transcript before sending it to the Office of Financial Aid. This is the only way that our office will be able to match the tax transcript to the student’s financial aid record.
Students who do not want their financial aid delayed are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer their tax data onto their FAFSA application. Students who cannot use the IRS DRT, or choose not to use the IRS DRT, will be responsible for providing their full name and student id on all transcripts (student/spouse/parent) submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.
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:
- 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.
* In addition to the required items listed above, The Office of Financial Aid may require a student to submit an IRS Record of Account.
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:
- 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.
Applicants who are non-tax filers must provide the following information to the Office of Financial Aid:
- 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 to the U.S. Department of Education. In these cases, the College will notify the U.S. Department of Education of the over payment.