Federal Verification 2022-23
The US Department of Education (ED) selects certain FAFSA files for a review process called verification. When this happens, our office is required to ensure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate.
If your application has been selected, both ED and our office will provide you with instructions on how to proceed. Federal verification is an important part of the financial aid application process. We cannot process your financial aid award until the verification review is complete, so we encourage timely submission of all requested documents.
All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.
One or more of the documents below may be requested.
Federal Verification Worksheet: Be sure that you are submitting the worksheet that corresponds to the academic year for which you are applying and the dependency status on your FAFSA.
Tax Information: You can submit your tax information through any one of the following methods:
- Preferred: The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) that is part of FAFSA.
- If you are unable to use the IRS DRT, please provide a signed copy of your 2020 income tax return that was submitted to the IRS.
- You may also submit a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript for the 2020 income tax year. You can request a tax transcript through the IRS website or by calling 1-800-908-9946.
Nontax Filers: If you did not and were not required to file a federal tax return for 2020, the following documentation is required.
- Dependent students: Nontax filers must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income. Students with no earned income should report $0. Forms that are blank will be considered incomplete.
- Independent students and Parents of dependent students: Nontax filers must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income and 2020 Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS.
Verification of Income Information for Individuals with Unusual Circumstances
Click the heading of each item below to see more information.
How do I request an IRS Tax Return Transcript?
A 2020 IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested online, by phone, or by mail.
- Get Transcript ONLINE or by MAIL: Go to IRS.GOV, under the Tools heading, click "Get my Tax Record." Select whether you wish to receive a transcript by mail or online. Make sure to request the "IRS Tax Return Transcript" and NOT the "IRS Tax Account Transcript."
- If you're receiving the transcript by mail, indicate your home address as the mailing address and submit to IDOC when you receive it.
- To use the Get Transcript Online tool, the user must have (1) access to a valid email address, (2) a text-enabled mobile phone (pay-as-you-go plans cannot be used) in the user's name, and (3) specific financial account numbers (such as a credit card number or an account number for a home mortgage or auto loan). The transcript displays online upon successful completion of the IRS's two-step authentication. Submit the transcript to IDOC.
- Automated Telephone Request: 1-800-908-9946. Transcript is generally received within 10 business days from the IRS's receipt of the telephone request. Indicate your home address as the mailing address and submit to IDOC when you receive it.
- Paper Request Form: IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T. The transcript is generally received within 10 business days from the IRS's receipt of the paper request form. Indicate your home address as the mailing address and submit to IDOC when you receive it.
I already indicated that I didn’t have any earnings for 2020 when I completed my Federal Verification Worksheet – what more do you need?
Dependent students must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income. Students with no earned income should report $0. Forms that are blank will be considered incomplete.
Independent students and Parents of dependent students must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income and a Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS.
Individuals Who Filed an Amended IRS Income Tax Return
An individual who filed an amended IRS income tax return for tax year 2020 must provide a signed copy of the 2020 IRS Form 1040X, “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that was filed with the IRS or documentation from the IRS that include the change(s) made by the IRS, in addition to one of the following:
- IRS DRT information on an ISIR record with all tax information from the original tax return; or
- A signed copy of your original 2020 income tax return that was submitted to the IRS; or
- A 2020 IRS Tax Return Transcript (that will only include information from the original tax return and does not have to be signed), or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified.
Submit this documentation to IDOC.
Students or parents who had an IRA or pension rollover during the 2020 tax year need to provide additional documentation. If you used the DRT when you filed your FAFSA, please submit the IRA/Pension Rollover Documentation Form. These forms require ink signatures. Electronic signatures will not be accepted.
If you are providing an IRS transcript, please include a signed and dated notation that includes the word "Rollover" beside the applicable item(s) on the transcript.
Individuals Who Were Victims of IRS Identity Theft
An individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must complete the following steps:
- Contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.
- Upon authentication of the tax filer’s identity, the IRS will provide, by U.S. Postal Service, an alternate transcript Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) of the tax filer’s IRS income tax return information or a signed copy of your 2020 tax return.
- Provide a statement, signed and dated by the tax filer, indicating that he/she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Submit this documentation to IDOC.
Individuals Who Filed Non-IRS Income Tax Returns
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands may provide a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. However, if we question the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the income tax return, the tax filer must provide us with a copy of the tax account information issued by the relevant tax authority before verification can be completed. Submit this documentation to IDOC.
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with tax authority for American Samoa must provide a copy of his or her tax account information. Submit this documentation to IDOC.
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with tax authorities not mentioned above, i.e. a foreign tax authority, and who indicates that he or she is unable to obtain the tax account information free of charge, must provide Cornell with documentation that the tax authority charges a fee to obtain that information, along with a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. Submit this documentation to IDOC.
Foreign Nontax Filers
If the individual lives in a foreign country that is unable to provide a Verification of Nonfiling Letter or confirmation of nonfiling from the relevant tax authority, that individual should provide Cornell with the following:
- A signed and dated statement listing the sources and amounts of earnings, other income, and resources, that supported the individual for the tax year; and
- If applicable, documentation of any earned income; and
- Proof of that taxing authority's filing requirements (if available, documentation from their website is sufficient).
Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS
A tax filer who is required to file a 2020 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2020, must provide Cornell with the following:
- a copy of IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return," that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2020 (For an individual who was 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, Cornell will accept a signed statement from the individual certifying that he or she has not filed an income tax return or a request for a filing extension because of that service);
- A copy of the IRS's approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2020;
- Verification of Non-Filing Letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority dated on or after October 1, 2021;
- a copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2020, and;
- If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the tax year 2020.
Submit this documentation to IDOC. Please be advised that the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment will NOT move forward with a review of a student's institutional financial aid eligibility until we have received a valid tax return that has been received and processed by the IRS. We will not accept draft returns or extension approvals.
Statement of Educational Purpose
You may be required to complete a Statement of Educational Purpose as part of the Federal Verification process. If you are unable to come to our office in person with an unexpired valid government-issued photo identification, you may complete this Statement of Educational Purpose in the presence of a notary public.
The original notarized statement and a copy of the identification acknowledged by the notary public will need to be submitted to our office by mail or in person.