Posted Date: October 17, 2014

Author:  Lynn B. Mahaffie, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education

Subject: Acceptable Documentation Update for 2014-2015 Award Year Verification

On page 8 of Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-16 we noted that the Department would provide guidance on the acceptable documentation for individuals who are unable to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript following the period after the IRS processes 2013 income tax returns. This Electronic Announcement informs institutions that for the remainder of the 2014-2015 award year verification, a signed paper copy of a 2013 IRS tax return may be accepted as alternative documentation to meet the "acceptable documentation" standard for income and other tax related verification information. This alternative documentation can only be used when the tax filer had recently requested an IRS Tax Return Transcript but was unsuccessful in obtaining the transcript.

The alternative documentation that must be submitted by the tax filer to the institution is as follows:

  1. A signed copy of the relevant (i.e., applicant, spouse, or parent) 2013 IRS tax return.

  2. For tax filers who had attempted to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript using IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T, a copy of the IRS response that was provided to the tax filer stating that the IRS could not provide the requested transcript. The copy of the IRS response must be signed and dated by the tax filer.

  3. For tax filers who had attempted to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript using the IRS online transcript request process, a signed and dated copy of the screen print from the official IRS Web page that displays a message indicating that the transcript request was unsuccessful.

Because the IRS does not provide written confirmation of the failure of a transcript request made using its automated phone tool at 1-800-908-9946, there is no alternative documentation for that process. Impacted tax filers must attempt to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript using either the IRS paper or online transcript request process and, if unsuccessful, provide the above noted documentation.

IMPORTANT: In addition to the documentation specified above, the tax filer must also provide to the institution a completed and signed IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T that includes on line 5 the name, address, and telephone number of the institution as the third party to whom the IRS is to mail the 2013 IRS Tax Return Transcript. Unless the institution has doubt about the accuracy of the information on the submitted copy of the tax return, it should proceed with verification and simply retain the IRS Form 4506 and not submit it to the IRS. However, if the institution has doubts about the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the paper tax return, it must, before verification can be completed, send the IRS Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506-T to the IRS and wait for the IRS to return the Tax Return Transcript or confirmation that a transcript is not available for that tax filer.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support as we work to ensure the integrity of the Title IV student aid process.

   

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