Posted Date: February 3, 2012
David Bergeron, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Innovation
Subject: Sample 2012-2013 Verification Worksheets
As discussed in E-Announcement 2012-01-31 announcing the release of a series of verification questions and answers, sample 2012-2013 Verification Worksheets are now available. Financial aid administrators (FAAs) may, but are not required, to use these worksheets in the verification of FAFSA information for the 2012-2013 award year. Two versions—one for use for dependent students and one for independent students—are attached.
Each worksheet has several sections, as follows –
Section A – Section A on each worksheet collects identifying information about the student who has completed a FAFSA for the 2012-2013 award year.
Section B – Section B on each worksheet collects information about the number of persons in the student’s household and the number of those persons who are or will be, enrolled in college during the 2012-2013 award year. We remind FAAs that the parent(s) of a dependent student may not be included in the number of family members who are, or will be, enrolled in college on at least a half-time basis.
Section C and Section D – Section C on each worksheet collects income verification information for the student (and spouse, if married). Section D on the dependent student worksheet collects income verification information for the parent(s) of the dependent student.
Part 1 of Section C is for the student (and spouse, if married) and Part 1 of Section D is for the parent(s) who filed or will file a 2011 IRS tax return. Note that each section includes information regarding amended tax returns. See the Note on Amended Tax Returns on page 3 of this document for guidance on how an FAA must respond when a student or a student’s parent or spouse files an amended tax return.
Consistent with the July 13, 2011 Federal Register notice and DCL GEN-11-13, acceptable documentation for IRS income related FAFSA information (Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), U.S. taxes paid, and certain other items) is either (1) information obtained from the IRS using the Department’s IRS Data Retrieval Process in FAFSA on the Web, if that information had not been changed after it was transferred into the FAFSA, or (2) a 2011 IRS Tax Return Transcript provided by the IRS. As noted in the July 13, 2011 postings, only under limited circumstances may a school accept a signed copy of the 2011 income tax return as documentation for IRS related income information. The only circumstances we have identified that would allow a school to accept a signed copy of the 2011 income tax return in lieu of information provided through the IRS Data Retrieval Process or from an IRS Tax Return Transcript is when the student (and spouse, if married) or parent(s) filed taxes in Puerto Rico or filed a foreign tax return.
The third box in Part 1 of Section C and Section D is for the student (and spouse, if married) or parent(s) who is unable to, or chooses not to, use the IRS Data Retrieval Process in FAFSA on the Web. Information is provided on how the student (and spouse, if married) or parent(s) can request a 2011 IRS Tax Return Transcript so that the student can submit it to the student’s school.
Part 2 of Section C is for the student (and spouse, if married) and Part 2 of Section D is for the parent(s) who did not, will not, and are not required to file a 2011 income tax return with the IRS. It asks for the name of all employers, the amount earned from each employer, and whether an IRS W-2 form from the employer is attached.
Section D on the independent student worksheet and Section E on the dependent student worksheet, collect information on the two additional verification items for the 2012-2013 award year.
Part 1 of Section D and Part 1 of Section E ask whether anyone in the student’s or parent(s)’ household received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), at any time during the 2010 or 2011 calendar year. This item must be verified only if the student’s Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) shows that SNAP benefits were received.
Note that an applicant using FAFSA on the Web will only be asked the SNAP question if the question is needed to determine whether the applicant is eligible for either of the alternate expected family contribution (EFC) calculations - Automatic Zero EFC or Simplified Needs Test. This means that some students or parent(s) who received SNAP benefits will not be required to verify that receipt.
Documentation of the receipt of SNAP benefits is a signed statement by the student or parent, as appropriate, affirming the response provided on the FAFSA that someone in the household did receive SNAP benefits in 2010 or 2011. Checking the SNAP box in Section D or E and signing the worksheet in Section E or F suffices as acceptable documentation for SNAP benefits (food stamps) unless the school requires additional documentation.
Part 2 of Section D and Part 2 of Section E ask whether the student (or spouse) or either parent paid child support in 2011. This item needs to be verified only if the ISIR shows that child support paid was reported.
Documentation of child support paid is a signed statement that includes the name of the person who paid the child support, the person to whom the child support was paid, the name of the child or children for whom child support was paid, and the amount that was paid for each child during 2011. Checking the Child Support Paid box in Section D or E and signing the worksheet in Section E or F suffices as acceptable documentation for child support paid unless the school requires additional documentation.
Note on Amended Tax Returns – The FAFSA on the Web IRS Data Retrieval Process will only transfer information from an original tax return and not from an amended tax return. Similarly, the IRS Tax Return Transcript only includes information from the original tax return. While the IRS Tax Account Transcript, does include tax return items that were changed when an amended return was filed, it does not include all of the data that did not change. Therefore, both an IRS Tax Return Transcript and an IRS Tax Account Transcript must be obtained from the IRS and submitted to your school for verification to be completed when an amended return was filed. The IRS does provide another option for tax filers who filed an amended tax return – the Record of Account which includes the required information from both the IRS Tax Return Transcript and the IRS Tax Account Transcript.
However, the Record of Account can only be requested using a paper IRS Form 4506-T and, as a paper request, it could take up to 30 days for the tax filer to receive the Record of Account, whereas the IRS Tax Return Transcript and IRS Tax Account Transcript can be requested electronically from the IRS or by phone, which for electronic filers will yield quicker results. In summary, when the school is aware that the student or the student’s parent(s) or spouse, filed, or will file, an amended tax return with the IRS, it may obtain from the applicant both an IRS Tax Return Transcript and an IRS Tax Account Transcript and use the information from both transcripts to complete verification. Alternatively, the tax filer could request a Record of Account from the IRS (using IRS Form 4506-T) and submit the Record of Account to the school.
As a reminder, schools are not required to use the attached sample worksheets. Schools may develop their own worksheets or they may choose not to use a worksheet but rather, to collect the required documents, statements, certifications and signatures through other means.
If you have any questions about the sample worksheets, please contact our Research and Customer Care Center staff. Staff is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM (Eastern Time) at 1-800-433-7327. After hours calls will be accepted by an automated voice response system. Callers leaving their names and phone numbers will receive a return call the next business day. Alternatively, you may email the Customer Care Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, we are developing and expect to issue shortly a 2012-2013 FAFSA–IRS Tax Return Transcript Matrix that FAAs may use to track the various FAFSA information requiring verification and the corresponding document line item names and numbers.