What is Verification?Verification is the process of checking the data you reported on the FAFSA against actual Federal income tax return transcripts and statements documenting household size, number in college and untaxed income. The Central Processing System selects student FAFSA results for verification. Students are notified in the cover letter of their Student Aid Report (SAR) that they have been selected for review and an asterisk is placed next to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number on the front page of the SAR. To simplify and streamline the verification process, in 2015, ED has implemented a “Prior-Prior Year” (PPY) Policy.
With the implementation of the Prior-Prior Year, students and parents are able to:
- Submit a FAFSA Earlier: Student will be able to file a 2018-2019 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2017 rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling student to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
- Use Earlier Income Information: Students will report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2018-2019 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2016 information, rather than their 2017 income information.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool: Students are able to import accurate and timely tax information into the FAFSA application using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). By using earlier income data in return will make it easier to fill in application forms, and increase the likelihood that families will be able to import their income directly from the IRS using the online Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
If you are selected for review, realize this is a common process. Its goal is to maintain an accurate and fair need analysis. Respond promptly to your school’s request for a Verification Worksheet and other data. Failure to provide data will result in delays. No aid will be disbursed until completion of the verification process and proper submission of additional forms for loans, grants, or other federal aid. Students are responsible for payment of tuition by the payment deadline regardless of the status of the verification process. Financial Aid will not defer tuition payments if the student has outstanding requirements that are not satisfied.
Verifications are handled by the Office of Financial Aid (ATC). If conflicting data is found, your assigned Financial Aid Counselor will make necessary corrections and resubmit your data to CPS for processing. You will receive a new SAR Information Acknowledgement from the Central Processor so you know what corrections were made.
For the 2018-2019 Academic Year, the Department of Education may select students for one of the three verification categories:
- Standard Verification Group (V1)
- Identity and High School Verification Group (V4)
- Aggregate Verification Group (V5)
While most students selected will fall into the Standard Verification Group, some may be chosen for one of the other three groups. The Financial Aid office will request a Verification Worksheet for your appropriate verification group on your Banner Webaccount or you may inquire with the office of Financial Aid. It is extremely important that you submit the information that is requested in your verification worksheet.
Requesting a Tax Return Transcript
Federal verification guidelines do not consider copies of a Federal Tax Return as sufficient documentation of income for verification purposes. Therefore, students and parents who are selected to verify income and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval process while completing their FAFSA or if you did use the IRS Data Retrieval and for whatever the reason it didn’t successfully transmit/transfer, you must submit copies of an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
Obtaining a Tax Return Transcript
- The following information is needed to request a transcript – Social Security Number, date of birth, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used when the most recent tax return was filed).
- It takes up to 2 weeks for IRS income information to be available for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to 8-12 weeks for paper IRS tax return filers.
- Be sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and not the “IRS Tax Account Transcript”.
- We strongly recommend that you have the transcript sent to you and then you submit a copy to our office, and keep a copy for your own records.
- Be sure to submit all pages of the transcript.
Online To Be Mailed
This method will let you request a transcript online for immediate access or to be mailed to the address you have on file with the IRS. The IRS recommends you allow 5-10 business days for arrivalFor immediate access, you will need identifying information from a personal account such as a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan.
To view and print your transcripts online, go to IRS.gov and use the Get Transcript tool.
Tips: Be sure you are typing the address exactly as it appears on the 2016 tax return. Spellings, punctuation, and abbreviations such as Rd., RD, Road will make a difference.
This method will let you request a transcript by phone to be mailed to the address you have on file with the IRS. The IRS recommends you allow 5-10 business days for arrival.
To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts. You can also request your transcript using your smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app
Tips: The online requests require an exact match on the address, whereas the phone method only requires your house number, so it is often times easier to get.
What to Do If You Have Trouble Obtaining A Transcript
When did you submit your 2016 return? In some cases it can take up to 8-12 weeks after filing your return before transcript information is available.
Try a different requesting method; if you were unsuccessful with the online method, the phone method may work for you.
For more assistance in obtaining a transcript, you may contact your local IRS office. To find an office is your area, go to irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1 and select your state.
How to Schedule an Appointment in Atlanta (ATL Metro Offices)
If you require face –to- face service at the Atlanta (Summit), Atlanta (Woodstock) or Smyrna TAC office, call 844.545.5640 to schedule an appointment.
401 W. Peachtree St. NW Atlanta, GA 30308
Monday – Friday – 8:30am–4:30pm By appointment
2888 Woodstock Blvd. Atlanta, GA 30341
Monday – Friday – 8:30am–4:30pm By appointment
1899 Powers Ferry Rd. Atlanta, GA 30339
Monday – Friday – 8:30am–4:30pm By appointment
*If you are a DEPENDENT student you must have a Tax Return Transcript if filed for you and your parent. If parent did not file, you must submit wage and income transcripts for your parent(s).
For individuals who have filed an amended return, additional information is needed for verification purposes. Please note, the IRS Tax Return Transcript only shows the information submitted on the original return and does not reflect changes made by the amendment. Therefore the following items are required:
- IRS Tax Return Transcript
- A signed copy of the individual’s 1040X-Amended Return
IRS Tax Extensions
If you or your parent has been granted an extension of time for completing a Tax Return and you do not expect the return to be filed in time for the completion of your verification, please contact the Financial Aid office for additional information.
Victims of Identity Theft
When the IRS determines a tax filer has been or likely was a victim of identity theft, it will not allow him to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA or get a tax return transcript until the matter has been resolved, which can take up to a year for complex cases.
An individual who is the victim of identity theft and cannot get a return transcript must contact the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490. After the IPSU authenticates the tax filer’s identity, they can ask the IRS to mail them an alternate paper tax return transcript knows as the TRDBV (Transcript Database View). Please complete a Statement of Identity Theft and submit it along with a copy of the TRDBV in place of a tax return transcript.
**If you are a victim of Identity Theft, you will need to submit ALL of the following to Financial Aid:
- Identity Theft Affidavit (Stamped from IRS)
- Transcript Database View (TRDBV)
- Statement from the IRS (From the IRS)
Financial Aid award notifications are sent to ATC students who have a completed Financial Aid file, are enrolled and have maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress. Financial Aid awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Eligible aid applicants will receive a reimbursement later in the semester. The Financial Aid Office will disburse financial aid payments to the student accounts of eligible students. Any remaining balance is the responsibility of the student to pay before the first day of the semester or the payment due date. Excess Financial Aid will be refunded to you within 14 days by the Business Office.
Verification (Professional Judgment)
ATC must complete verification for a selected student before you exercise professional judgment (Special Circumstance, Dependent to Independent, i.e.) to adjust any values that are used to calculate the EFC. But making a PJ adjustment does not require you to verify an application that isn’t selected.
Changing in Tracking Groups (Verification)
Beginning with 2016–2017, a student may move from Verification Tracking Group V1 or V4 to group V5 based on corrections made to her CPS record or on other information available to the Department. If verification was already completed for the previous group, the student is only required to verify the V5 information that was not already verified. If verification was not completed for the previous group, the student only needs to verify the V5 information. No disbursements of Title IV aid may be made until the V5 verification is satisfactorily completed. If the applicant doesn’t complete verification, the school is not liable for any Title IV aid it disbursed prior to receiving the group V5 ISIR. The applicant is liable for the full amount because without verification there is no evidence she was eligible for that aid. More information on reporting the receipt of such ineligible funds to the Department will be provided in a future electronic announcement.
ATC sends notification to students ATC email account and text messages regarding his/her status of the verification process. Enclosed in the notification, ATC students will find the documentations needed to complete the verification process and the time frame to submit by; in-addition to failure to meet the due date, financial aid will not defer tuition payments if the student has outstanding requirements that are not satisfied. Students can also view outstanding requirements on Banner Web. To view instructions on how to view requirements, click here.
Also, notification is sent to student each time a new ISIR comes in, if their EFC and Title IV aid amounts change, the student may appeal the change by providing supporting documentation or make the necessary changes if can.
Verification Important Dates, Contact Numbers and Email addresses
All aid applications and supportive documents must be submitted to the aid office by the following quarterly deadline dates per each Academic School Aid Year:
- Fall Semester – July 1
- Spring Semester – December 1
- Summer Semester – April 1
Default Clearance Letter Information
Loan Limit or Pell Limit information
Financial Aid Review
Login with your FSA ID
Department of Education:
If student has a concern or complaint about his or her verification process – Contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline – Call: 1-800-MIS-USED (800.647.8733) Hours: M, W 9:00–11am T, Th 1:00–3:00pm.
To submit a complaint online at any time, go to www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html and click on the appropriate link.