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ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: VERIFICATION for 2013-2014

April 30, 2013
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VERIFICATION for 2013-2014

EA – Posted January 18, 2013 – (General).  2013-2014 Verification – Suggested Text

In this posting, ED provides suggested text that may be used in the verification of selected applicants in 2013-2014.  Financial Aid Administrators should review this EA thoroughly.  Beyond providing suggested text to use in developing verification documents, this EA gives additional guidance and instruction related to the changes in the verification process for 2013-2014.  Specific focus is given to encourage schools to remove any unnecessary burdens in the process.  For example, ED urges institutions to use a targeted approach to request only required verification information from students and families rather than using one combined verification document for all selected students that includes all or most of the possible 2013-2014 items in the various verification groups.

It is important to note that the attached suggested verification text is just that, suggested.  ED does not require the use of the particular text provided as long as the institution collects the required information and certifications, etc., that are required for verification purposes, which may include the use of an institutionally developed form, etc.  (There is one exception to the preceding statement that the provided text is only suggested, not required:  institutions must use the exact language provided in the “Statement of Educational Purpose” in APPENDIX A of the EA for students who are placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5.)

The appendices to the EA provide several useful items.  These include the suggested verification text, a table of the required verification items with some considerations for various verification tracking groups, and an example of what an institutional verification document might look like.

Institutions should use this EA in concert with guidance in the July 12, 2012 Federal Register, Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN-12-11, the Program Integrity Questions and Answers regarding verification on IFAP, and the 2013-2014 AVG.

As a reminder to FAME processing clients, we have provided 5 independent and 5 dependent sample verification documents utilizing ED’s suggested language for the V1 through V5 verification groups.

EA – Posted March 1, 2013 – (Verification).  Acceptable IRS Documentation for 2013-2014 Award Year Verification

ED announces the anticipated time frame within which tax filers may expect their 2012 tax information to be available to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) via FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) for completing verification for the 2013-2014 award year.  Further, schools are reminded that for 2013-2014 tax filers will need to utilize the IRS DRT or submit an approved IRS Tax Return Transcript.  The temporary alternative of using a paper copy of a tax filer’s tax return that was allowed for 2011 tax return verification is not similarly authorized for 2012 tax return information verification.  (Limited exceptions for paper copies of tax returns are listed in the AVG, e.g., a tax filer filed a foreign tax return, or a Puerto Rican tax return, etc.).  ED will decide at a later date whether some provision will be made for those tax filers who are unable to use the IRS DRT or obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript as was made for 2011 tax returns in verification for the 2012-2013 award year.

EA – Posted March 15, 2013 – (Verification).  2013-2014 FAFSA Verification – IRS Tax Return Transcript Matrix

As an attachment to this announcement, ED provides a matrix for use in verifying IRS income and tax information when an IRS Tax Return Transcript has been submitted by a student or parent.  It also clarifies how the items on the IRS Tax Return Transcript relate to the items on the FAFSA and ISIR, as the tax return transcript does not have line or item numbers and uses wording that may be different than that used on the FAFSA and ISIR for some items.  Additionally, there are some items on the transcript that may have more than one value reported.  If only one value is reported for an item, that is the one that must be used for verification purposes.  However, when an item has more than one value reported on the transcript, the one that must be used for verification purposes is the one that says “Per Computer”.  This is true even if it is a value different than what the tax filer reported when submitting their tax return.  Financial Aid Administrators are encouraged to read this EA and review the matrix carefully.

EA – Posted March 18, 2013 – (Verification).  FAFSA Applicants Who May Have Been Impacted by a Tax Filing Software Issue Related to IRS Form 8863

In light of recent issues with a particular tax filing software having technical issues related to Education Credits being claimed on tax filers’ tax returns, ED provides guidance on how families and schools may proceed without delaying the processing of their FAFSA and the resulting awards.  Until the tax filing software issue is resolved, schools should become familiar with the guidance put forth in this EA.

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