Note: For the 2016-2017 award year, financial aid applicants selected for verification will receive emails from the Office of Financial Aid starting in mid-March. Applicants can also view their my.newpaltz account (my.newpaltz - My Financial Aid - Eligibility) for the individual verification requirements that need to be submitted and satisfied based upon their FAFSA application data.
WHAT IS VERIFICATION?
Verification is the process of comparing the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with information on your tax returns and other financial documents and making corrections as necessary. It is a requirement via federal financial aid regulations. View our verification brochure here.
WHO MUST COMPLETE VERIFICATION?
The Federal Central Processing Center (CPS) selects financial aid applicants for verification and targets the verification of error-prone data items. When using FAFSA on the Web, students and the parents of dependent students who indicate they already completed federal income tax returns are eligible to retrieve income data directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the IRS Data Retrieval tool. This simple and time saving process allows eligible financial aid applicants and the parents of dependent students to access their IRS tax record and to retrieve, directly from the IRS, certain data and information from income tax returns and to automatically transfer that information to the FAFSA application. The College may also select an applicant if there appears to be conflicting or inconsistent information on the application.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR VERIFICATION?
In accordance with federal financial aid regulations, colleges are required to rely on the IRS Data Retrieval tool or IRS tax return transcripts as primary sources of documentation for verification purposes. If requested, all applicants must complete and sign the verification worksheet. Dependent students must have a parent sign the verification worksheet.
Please read all of the instructions on the verification worksheet and complete all of the sections with the required information.
If requested, applicants must either use the IRS Data Retrieval tool or submit a signed copy of their official IRS tax return transcript of their Federal income tax information for the previous year of 2015. If requested, applicants who are dependent also must have their parent(s) either use the IRS Data Retrieval tool or submit a signed copy of their parents' official IRS tax return transcript of their Federal income tax information for the previous year of 2015.
Here's instructions on how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (or if you cannot use the tool, then how to obtain a tax return transcript from the IRS): INSTRUCTIONS
Documentation Requirement Details for Verification:
View our online video of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool 2016 - 2017:
If eligible and there are no special tax filing circumstances, applicants can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval tool on the 2016-2017 FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov in lieu of submitting an IRS tax return transcript. Newly retrieved and unchanged IRS tax data retrieved by the tax filer while correcting the FAFSA is considered acceptable documentation in lieu of an IRS tax return transcript, even though it was not retrieved with the initial FAFSA application.
- Official IRS tax return transcript for 1040/1040A/1040EZ filers: If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool, submit a copy of the 2015 tax "Return Transcript" directly from the IRS (including all pages and schedules). Please refer to our instructions on how to request an IRS transcript, free of charge. Remember to sign the IRS tax transcript at the bottom of the first page of the return. The "Return Transcript" is the IRS document that should be requested for financial aid verification. Do not select "Account Transcript" as this is not a copy of the entire tax return.
- Non-tax filers: If a tax return is not required to be filed with the IRS due to low income, the verification worksheet must reflect all non-taxable income received, as well as the amount and sources of any income earned. All 2015 W-2's from employers must be submitted for the non-tax filer(s). An IRS statement of non-filing status may also be requested. A low income verification form may also be requested.
- Special Tax Filing Circumstances: The U.S. Department of Education states that some tax filers with special tax filing circumstances are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool and may be selected for verification. The U.S. Department of Education describes tax filers as having special tax filing circumstances for verification if they:
Are the dependent student's legal parents, are unmarried, and live together.
- Filed a joint 2015 tax return and are:
- Had a change in marital status after the end of the 2015 tax year on December 31, 2015.
- Are a married independent applicant with a spouse who filed separate 2015 tax returns.
- Are the married parents of a dependent student who filed separate 2015 tax returns.
- In 2015, filed a foreign tax return or a tax return from Puerto Rico and therefore cannot obtain a tax transcript from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Are tax filers who owe funds or filed amended IRS tax returns.
- Are victims of identity theft.
- Are tax filers who have IRS tax filing extensions.
Generally a 2015 signed IRS tax return transcript may be required for most applications with special filing circumstances. Please refer to our instruction sheet regarding the steps necessary to request an IRS transcript, free of charge. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid by phone at 845-257-3250 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about additional documentation that may be required to satisfy the applicant's verification requirements.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS THAT MAY BE REQUESTED?
Other documents may be requested to resolve conflicting data or provide clarification of reported data. These documents may include bank statements, brokerage statements, divorce/separation agreements, child support documentation, asset verification worksheets, W-2's, and low income verification forms. If we require such documents then we will email you links to the required forms found on our FORMS PAGE. In some situations, additional income tax return documents may be requested (in addition to the IRS tax return transcript or IRS Data Retrieval tool) for clarification of reported data.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER VERIFICATION DOCUMENTS ARE SUBMITTED?
Documents are reviewed for completeness and accuracy. If everything is complete and accurate an award letter will be sent via email within a week of being reviewed. If additional documents are needed a request is sent out. If corrections need to be made, the College will send the data to the Federal Central Processing Center (CPS). The CPS will calculate a new Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and send the results to you and the College. After the College receives the corrected Student Aid Report with the new EFC you will be sent an award letter via email notifying you of your aid eligibility. This notification will be sent within two weeks. The award letter will also be posted at my.newpaltz.edu. Information on your application status, the status of verification requirements, and eligibility can also be found at my.newpaltz.edu.
All requested information must be submitted within 60 days from the last request for information. Failure to submit information in a timely fashion may result in the application being filed as inactive with no further consideration and no federal aid being processed. A one-time request for a 30-day extension may be granted due to extenuating circumstances and must be sent in writing to the Compliance Coordinator. This deadline policy will be strictly enforced and is not appealable.
All applicants who remain incomplete after 90 days will not be processed and may be sent a notice of ineligibility for federal aid consideration for the remainder of the academic year.
Q) I was selected for verification. Can I submit photocopies of tax returns to satisfy verification requirements?
A) NO. Beginning with the 2012-2013 award year, institutions can no longer accept copies of federal income tax returns to satisfy financial aid verification requirements. In general and in accordance with federal financial aid regulations, all applicants who have already filed their 2016-2017 FAFSA but elect to not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be required to support their reported FAFSA data with information obtained directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This would include but not be limited to a 2015 IRS tax return transcript for students and their parents (if a dependent student), as well as other documentation required to verify information on the FAFSA.
Q) For verification, how do I request a tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?
A) A tax filer can request a transcript, free of charge, of their 2015 tax return from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in one of three ways (via an online request, telephone request, or a paper request form). The easiest two ways are by an online request or by a telephone request.
It is required that all IRS Tax Return Transcripts be received directly by the tax filer and for all tax transcripts to be submitted to the SUNY New Paltz Office of Financial Aid in one packet. Please note that the tax filer should sign the IRS tax return transcript at the bottom of the first page.
Q) How long will it take for an IRS tax return transcript to be received in the mail?
A) If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online or telephone request, within 5 to 10 days from the time the request was successfully transmitted to the IRS. For those using a paper request form (IRS Form 4506T-EZ), tax filers can expect to receive their transcript within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives and processes their signed request.
If you need personal tax help in person you may also be able to visit your local IRS office. Need help locating your local office? Local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center Contact Information for Face-to-face Tax Help.
Q) How do tax filers with special tax filing circumstances complete verification?
A) The U.S. Department of Education states that some tax filers with special tax filing circumstances (see special criteria above) are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool and may be selected for verification. Generally a 2015 signed IRS tax return transcript may be required for most applications with special filing circumstances. Please refer to our instruction sheet regarding the steps necessary to request an IRS transcript, free of charge. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid by phone at 845-257-3250 or by e-mail at email@example.com for questions about additional documentation that may be required to satisfy the applicant's verification requirements.
Q) What can I do if I am a tax filer who needs help determining my correct tax filing status?
A) The IRS has an excellent online tool to help taxpayers determine their correct filing status. It may be found here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/What-is-My-Filing-Status%3F.