Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy.
The U.S. Department of Education or the Office of Financial Aid may, at any time, select your application for verification based upon the information you have provided. We are required to make sure that all aid is awarded to students according to federal, state, and institutional regulations. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.
At a minimum, students selected for verification must complete and submit the Verification Worksheet as well as submit official federal IRS tax data. The Verification Worksheet may be obtained from the Forms Web site.
Students have two options for submitting tax data:
- Import using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
This option is available to both students and parents who have filed federal taxes electronically within 1-2 weeks and 6-8 weeks of filing a paper return. This option is not available those who filed an amended return, whose marital status has recently changed, or married couples who filed separately. See the video to the right for a demonstration.
This option is recommended.
Obtain a Tax Return Transcript
This option should be used if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not available or you are otherwise ineligible to use it. For details on obtaining this transcript, see below.
Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if I am selected for verification?
If you are selected for verification by the Department of Education, there will be an asterisk next to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will also be informed of having been selected for verification in the SAR Acknowledgment letter. You can view your SAR online.
You will also receive a "Missing Information" email from UB's Office of Financial Aid. This will direct you to view your "To Do List" in your MyUB Portal. This will also indicate the outstanding items we need before we can complete your verification process.
Why was I selected for verification?
Reasons vary; it may be that your FAFSA was incomplete or contains estimated or inconsistent information. You may have also been chosen randomly. Verification prevents ineligible students from receiving aid by reporting false information and ensures that eligible students receive all the aid for which they qualify.
How will I know what additional documentation is required for verification?
To view what documents we are requiring to complete your verification, log in to your MyUB Portal and view your "To Do List" by clicking on "My Student Center." As documents are received, they will be removed from your "To Do List."
How do I obtain a Tax Return Transcript or Non-Filing Letter from the IRS?
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option or you changed the IRS data after it was transferred, you will be required to request a tax transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid. Personal copies of tax returns can no longer be accepted.
There are a few different ways to request your FREE Tax Return Transcript: online, by mail, or by phone. Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript. DO NOT request a Tax Account Transcript or Record of Account because they cannot be used for financial aid verification purposes.If you, your parent(s), or spouse if independent, are a non-tax filer, please request the IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter. If you are unable to obtain this letter online please check box 7 and complete the 4506-T Form as indicated below.
To request online:
Go to www.irs.gov, then follow the instructions provided on the IRS website.
To request by phone:
Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, then select the following prompts:
- Option 2 (Personal Income Taxes)
- Option 1 (Tax History)
- Option 2 (Tax Return Transcript)
- Enter and verify Social Security number (if joint return both SSNs required)
- Enter and verify number of street address
- Press 2 for Tax Transcript and indicate which year (i.e., 2013)
A tax transcript can be requested by mail:
Complete Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return). The mailing address is indicated on the form. Your transcript(s) will be mailed by the IRS within 5 to 10 days.
What happens if there are discrepancies found?
After all required documents are submitted, the Office of Financial Aid will compare them to your FAFSA. If errors are found, corrections will be made and sent to the Department of Education for reprocessing. You will not be awarded until corrections have been received from the Department of Education.
How long does the verification process take?
Once all required documentation is received, the verification process is usually completed with one to two weeks. If reprocessing is required by the Department of Education, the time to complete is process may be a longer.