Verification is an important process created by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that helps confirm the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA, and requiring the school to correct any errors. Through collecting and reviewing additional documentation, verification ensures fair and accurate distribution of federal funds during the financial aid awarding process. Additionally, the University of Mississippi Office of Financial Aid may institutionally select FAFSAs for verification where further clarification is needed.
After completing the FAFSA, students will be notified by the DOE if they are selected for verification. An asterisk (*) that appears next to the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number on the Student Aid Report (SAR) indicates that the student has been selected for verification. Additionally, a paragraph within the SAR will explain that the student has been selected. Students selected for verification also receive regular email notifications from Financial Aid.
Financial Aid will compare information from your FAFSA with other required documentation and make any necessary changes to your FAFSA on your behalf. Student/Parents SHOULD NOT make any changes to the FAFSA during or after verification as it will further delay verification processing unless Financial Aid requests that you make changes directly.
No federal or need-based awards can be processed until verification is completed. Plan on submitting your verification paperwork NO LATER THAN JUNE 1st each year, in order to have your financial aid ready for the start of the fall term! Some funds have limited allocations, so we urge you to start the process now.
ARE YOU READY to complete the verification process? Start by visiting our Student Forms information page: finaid.olemiss.edu/studentforms/. Students will need to follow the instructions to create an account. Once your account is created, any required tasks you need to complete will become available! For any additional questions regarding verification, please visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” link below.
In addition to our Verification FAQs, we have included some helpful information below to assist you involving different tax filing scenarios and how to proceed with the income and tax portion of the verification process.
*NOTE REGARDING TAX DOCUMENTS: Remember that in any given academic year, we request the tax return information from two previous tax-filing years ago (prior-prior year). For instance, for the 2022-23 academic year, we would request tax information that was filed for 2020 which is the tax information that should be reflected on the FAFSA and 2021 tax information for the 2023-24 FAFSA.
- ARE YOU A TAX-FILERS WHO REQUESTED AN EXTENSION BEYOND THE AUTOMATIC SIX-MONTH EXTENTION: The Office of Financial Aid will require re-verification of FAFSA information using acceptable tax/income documentation (successful use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or submission of the tax return transcripts) once the student/parent (Dependent) or student/spouse (Independent) tax return is filed with and fully processed by the IRS.
*NOTE: For tax-filers who requested an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension and were called up for active duty or for qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, in lieu of IRS Form 4868, tax-filers must submit a written, signed statement certifying the tax-filer has not filed a income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension because of that military service.
- ARE YOU A TAX-FILERS WHO IS THE VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT:
Student or Parent (Dependent) or student/spouse (Independent) tax-filers who were victims of identity theft and are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a IRS Tax Return Transcript must submit ALL the following documentation to complete verification:
- a Tax Return Data Base View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS; and
- a statement signed and dated by the tax filer(s) indicating that they were victims of an IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
- ARE YOU A TAX FILER WHO FILED A JOINT TAX RETURN AND IS NOW SEPARATED, DIVORCED, WIDOWED, OR RE-MARRIED: If the parent(s) or you/spouse (Independent) are included on your FAFSA filed a joint tax return, but at the time of the FAFSA submission the reporting parent(s) was/were considered separated, divorced, widowed, or re-married to someone other than the individual included on the joint tax return, your parent(s) may not be able to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Therefore, to complete verification, you must submit ALL the following documentation:
- a Tax Return Transcript or Record of Account Transcript obtained from the IRS listing the income and tax information required to be verified, and if re-married, the step-parent’s transcript; and
- W-2 forms/applicable tax schedules (C, F, Schedule 1, K-1 form 1065) for each source of employment income for the parent reported on the FASFA, and if now re-married, W-2 forms/applicable tax schedules (C, F, Schedule 1, K-1 form 1065) for your step-parent, as well.
- ARE YOU TAX-FILERS WHO FILED AMENDED TAX RETURN(S): The IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA online will only transfer information from an original tax return, and NOT from an amended tax return. Therefore, if an amended return has been or will be filed to the IRS for tax year 2020 or 2021 depending on which FAFSA it is applicable for, you or your parents, then to complete verification, you must submit ALL the following documentation:
- a SIGNED copy of the student/parent (Dependent) or student/spouse (Independent) IRS Form 1040X (“Amended U.S. Individual Tax Return”); AND
- an IRS Tax Return Transcript, or any other IRS transcript that includes all income and tax information required to be verified.
*NOTE: We may also ask for additional information such as updated W2s and/or tax schedules once we review the Amended Return. The best way to ensure you are submitting what we need is to provide us with the documents/items that have been used in the Amended Return Filing.
- ARE YOU A TAX-FILER(S) WHO HAVE BEEN GRANTED A TAX-FILING EXTENSION: Because “prior-prior” year tax/income data is required on the FAFSA, most applicants are able to complete the FAFSA using information on an already completed tax return. In most cases, once an applicant files the FAFSA, and is notified regarding verification selection and what documentation is required to complete verification, the automatic six-month extension of time to file the 2020 or 2021 tax return will have passed. Therefore, student/parent (Dependent) or student/spouse (Independent) tax-filers who have been granted the automatic six-month extension for 2020 used for 22-23 (i.e., until October 15, 2021) or 2021 used for 23-24 (i.e., until October 15, 2022) must complete verification either by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or submitting the 2020 or 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript(s) to the Office of Financial Aid. Only student/parent or student/spouse tax-filers granted a tax-filing extension beyond the automatic six-month extension by the IRS may complete verification by submitting ALL the following documentation:
- a copy of IRS form 4868*, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return” filed with IRS for tax year 2020 or 2021 depending on which FAFSA it is applicable;
- a copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the tax-filer requested an additional extension of filing time for tax year 2020 or 2021 depending on which FAFSA it is applicable;
- a “Verification of Non-Filing Letter” obtained from the IRS, dated on or after October 1, 2021 for tax year 2020 or dated on or after October 1, 2022 for tax year 2021;
- W-2 forms/applicable tax schedules (C, F, Schedule 1, or K-1 form 1065) for each source of employment income; and
- If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the adjusted gross income and income tax paid for tax year 2020 or 2021 depending on which FAFSA academic year you are submitting.