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Verification Forms

The Department of Education selects certain FAFSA filers for a review process called Verification. During this process, our office is required to ensure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. If necessary, we will update your FAFSA application and send it to the Department of Education for processing.

If your application has been selected, both the Department of Education and our office will notify you with instructions on how to proceed. We cannot process your financial aid award until Verification is complete.

Only submit the Verification documents listed below if your To-Do list in CAESAR specifically requests them. Not all documents are required from each student selected. Your To-Do list in CAESAR will specifically state which documents are required. Students who do not see "Verification Worksheet" on their To-Do list in CAESAR should not submit this form unless it is specifically requested by the Office of Financial Aid. For more information on the federal Verification process, please see our Verification FAQs.

2018-19 Verification Forms

2017-18 Verification Forms

Updating your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or Requesting Federal Tax Transcripts from the IRS

In order to document your FAFSA tax and income information for the relevant filing year noted above, you will need to either update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or request a copy of your federal tax transcript from the IRS.

The Data Retrieval Tool is not available for the 2017-18 FAFSA but is available for the 2018-19 FAFSA.

Updating your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

You can update your FAFSA tax and income information at fafsa.gov using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You can find more information about completing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the Federal Student Aid website.

Below is some information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool particular to certain academic years:

2017-18 Academic Year

On March 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on fafsa.gov will be unavailable until additional security protections can be added to the process. Students should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season. The online FAFSA application is still available and is operable. Applicants will need to enter their income and tax information manually using their 2015 tax information. If your 2015 tax return information is not easily accessible to you, the Internal Revenue Service has published some helpful information to help you obtain this information in order to complete the FAFSA.

Because the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not available at this time, you may need to submit tax return documentation to the Chicago Office of Financial Aid if you are selected for verification for the 2017-18 academic year. This documentation can either be a signed copy of the applicable paper tax form or a copy of your federal tax transcript from the IRS, which you can request from the IRS free of charge. Signed paper copies of your tax forms can be accepted for verification purposes for the 2017-18 academic year ONLY.

2018-19 Academic Year

The security and privacy protection standards for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool have been updated for the 2018-19 academic year. You can review more information about the new Data Retrieval Tool security and privacy protection standards, along with a Q&A, on the Federal Student Aid website.

If the Data Retrieval Tool is available for your FAFSA submission, you will be taken to the IRS website while you are completing the FAFSA, where you’ll need to provide your name and other information exactly as you provided it on your tax return. Some information will be prepopulated from your FAFSA form.

Once at the IRS site, you’ll see a page that indicates that your tax information is available (you won’t see the actual information). You can choose to import your information into the FAFSA form, or you can cancel your request and return to the FAFSA site. If you choose to import your information into the FAFSA form, you’ll find that on the FAFSA site, instead of your tax information being displayed, you’ll see “Transferred from the IRS” in the appropriate fields. You won’t be able to make changes to those answers.

Requesting Federal Tax Transcripts from the IRS

You can request a copy of your federal tax transcript from the IRS, free of charge, in one of four ways. Tax transcripts can be submitted to our office via email, regular mail, or fax. When submitting tax transcripts, please be sure to indicate the student’s name and Northwestern ID number on the top of each page and please black out the first 5 digits of any social security numbers that are included on any forms that you send to our office.

Online Tax Transcript Request, Transcript Available for Immediate Download:

This is the preferred request method as it will allow for immediate download of the transcript PDF

  • Available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov
  • On the homepage, click “Get Your Tax Record”
  • Click the “Get Transcript Online” button to register for/sign into your IRS account. To register for and use this service, you need: 
    • your SSN, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from latest tax return,
    • access to your email account,
    • your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan, and
    • a mobile phone with your name on the account.
  • Follow the instructions to either sign into your IRS online account or register for a new account
    • If you are having trouble signing into your IRS online account or registering for a new account, then you may need to request that the tax transcript be mailed to you, which you can also complete online and does not require that you sign into your IRS online account or register for a new account.
  • Once you are logged into your IRS online account, choose "Higher Education/Student Aid" as the reason you need a transcript
  • Select "Go"
  • An outline of the transcript options available for you to request will appear. For federal verification purposes, you will need to select a "Return Transcript" for the applicable year. We cannot accept any other type of tax transcript for federal verification purposes.
    • Select 2015 if you are completing verification for 2017-18
    • Select 2016 if you are completing verification for 2018-19
  • Once you select the applicable year under the "Return Transcript" heading, a PDF copy of your transcript should pop up in a separate window
Online Tax Transcript Request, Transcript Delivered by Mail:
Telephone Tax Transcript Request:     
Paper Tax Transcript Request Form - IRS Form 4506T-EZ: