Each year, the federal government requires schools participating in the distribution of financial aid to verify the accuracy of data submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will be required to submit to the Student Financial Aid office copies of federal tax documents and/or complete other assigned verification forms, which you can find in your myZou To Do list. To check if you have missing documents, you can log in to your myZou account, select “Launch Task”, then enter your Mizzou ID and password.
Who is selected?
Any student who completes a FAFSA may be chosen for verification.
If you have agreed to conduct financial aid processes electronically by providing eConsent on myZou, the request for verification documents will be sent to your MU e-mail address. Otherwise, the request will be sent through the U.S. Postal Service. If you have electronically consented but have not yet been assigned an MU e-mail address, we will use U.S. mail until your e-mail account has been activated.
Parent on FAFSA
Dependent students are instructed to file the FAFSA with their legal parents, biological and/or adoptive. Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and aunts and uncles are not a parent on the FAFSA unless they have legally adopted the student. Visit our parents and families page for additional guidance on who is considered a parent on the FAFSA.
Timeline & Deadline
Please allow a minimum of two weeks for the verification process to be completed. The process might take longer if we receive incomplete documents or require additional information. Sometimes, we require clarification on forms you submit, which could also delay processing if you do not respond in a timely manner.
Your financial aid funds cannot be applied to your MU account until verification has been completed. Return the requested documents to us as soon as possible.
Verification must be completed before the last month of the semester to allow processing time for your financial aid.
Some applicants will be required to submit copies of signed Federal Tax Returns and W-2s. This is a requirement from the U.S. Department of Education to guarantee the accuracy of the information reported on the FAFSA to ensure federal aid is awarded properly.
If you would prefer to submit a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript, you can call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. You can either request that the IRS send the transcript directly to MU, or have it mailed to your home. For instructions on how to request a Tax Return Transcript online or how to request a Tax Return Transcript by mail, go to irs.gov/transcript. If you filed your return electronically, you should be able to request a copy within 2-3 weeks. If you filed a paper return, you should be able to request a copy within 8-10 weeks.
Applicants required to submit IRS federal tax information have the option of logging back into their FAFSA and using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This will fulfill the IRS federal tax information request. However, not all applicants can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
If any of the following apply to the applicant, then they cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and will have to submit an signed Federal Tax Return to the Office of Student Financial Aid:
- Parents with all zeros for SSN
- The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or their spouse filed as Married Filing Separately.
- The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or their spouse filed as Head of Household.
- The parents’ marital status is “Unmarried and both legal parents living together.”
- The student/parent filed a Puerto Rican, foreign tax return, or an IRS Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ.
Any students or parents who meet the above criteria will need to manually enter their tax return information.
Additionally, students or parents who filed their tax returns electronically within the last three weeks or through the mail within the last 11 weeks, might need to manually enter their tax return information or return at a later date to transfer their tax return information into the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form because their tax return information might not be available for transfer from the IRS.
Visit our Forms page for additional resources. Note: Some financial aid forms are updated annually. Check the date on the form to make sure it matches the academic year for which you’re applying for aid.
Troubleshooting E-Forms for Verification
If you are trying to complete one of the verification forms that are available online, and encounter issues with it not being accessible, please try the following:
- Clear your cookies and cache and make sure you don’t have your pop up blocker on, then try again
- If you are a parent trying to complete your portion of the form, please make sure that:
- You are logging in to AAA as yourself and not as your student
- You are reviewing data in AAA for the correct student if you have multiple students at MU
- Your student has fully submitted their part first, as you will not be able to access your part until they do
Click below for a PDF guide we’ve created to help you through the verification process:
If you are still having trouble after reviewing the information above, please contact our office for further assistance.
Victims of Fraud
If you are selected for verification and you or your parent are believed to be a victim of Identity Theft and cannot request a tax return transcript, follow these steps:
- The tax filer must call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490
- Signed and dated statement from the tax filers indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft (Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit).
- Upon authentication of the tax filer’s identity, the IRS will provide the tax information to you
- Submit the tax information to the financial aid office to complete verification
If an amended tax return was filed, to complete verification, we need the following:
- A copy of the tax return transcript, which can be ordered online
- A signed copy of the 1040X that was filed with the IRS
The Office of Student Financial Aid will correct any inaccuracies and resubmit your FAFSA to the Central Processing System (CPS). CPS will then send you an updated Student Aid Report (SAR). If you have received a financial aid package before completing verification, your aid eligibility will be reevaluated by your financial aid adviser after verification has been completed. You will be notified if your awards change after verification.