FAFSA and the Federal Verification process
Your 2013-2014 FAFSA may be selected by the Federal Department of Education for a process known as “Federal Verification.” This process requires the school to confirm your taxable income with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The process has been streamlined by allowing online data retrieval from the IRS website directly to your FAFSA.
PLEASE NOTE: Students who are not currently enrolled at Columbia or who are applying for admission to Columbia do not need to submit additional paperwork for the Federal Verification process at this time. If you do enroll at Columbia, our office will work with you during the summer to collect the required documentation.
Required Documents for Federal Verification
IRS Data Retrieval Tool: We strongly encourage all applicants to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when filing the FAFSA.
If the student or parents, or both, filed a 2012 Federal Tax Return, then each person who filed must confirm their taxable income by either transferring their information from the IRS to the FAFSA or by requesting from the IRS a Tax Return Transcript, which should then be submitted to our office.
- If your parents were not required to file a 2012 Federal Tax Return or only filed a foreign tax return, then they do not need to do either of these steps
IRS Tax Return Transcript: Some families may not wish to take advantage of the online IRS Data Retrieval Tool; in that case, a paper Tax Return Transcript may be requested directly from the IRS by the family.
To request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, go to www.irs.gov and click on “Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript” in the TOOLS section. Please make sure to request a Tax Return Transcript. A Tax Account Transcript will not satisfy the document requirements for Federal Verification.
- Be aware that the information that you enter must match what the IRS has on file for your family. It will be helpful to have your most current tax return nearby when completing this information to insure that the information will match.
Once you have received the Tax Return Transcript in the mail, you should fax it to our office.
2. Submit the Federal Verification Worksheet
- You should only be including your custodial parent’s household on the Verification Worksheet
- Parents should not be included in the number enrolled in college, even if they are enrolled at least half-time
- Child Support Paid refers only to those child support payments made by the custodial parent to another parent, not to any child support payments made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent