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Verification

Students who apply for federal assistance may be selected for a process called verification. The verification process requires that you submit documentation to verify the data submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please understand the verification process is triggered by the Department of Education when the FAFSA is processed. Rarely, does the College of Charleston select students to be verified.

The Financial Aid Office will notify you by email and MyCharleston if you have been selected for verification. Note we adhere to the strictest confidentiality.

The documents needed to complete this process are:

  1.  Federal Verification Worksheet: 

  2.  Federal tax return verification:

  • The easiest way to provide parent tax return data to CofC is using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To assist students and parents with the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may want to watch the FAFSA Financial Information video.

  • If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:
    • It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data.
    • It’s the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
    • You won’t need to provide a copy of your or your parents’ tax return transcript to CofC.
  • To access the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
    • Log into you FAFSA
    • Click the Financial Information tab
    • Find and click Link To IRS
      • You will not be asked to enter your FSA ID if you entered a FSA ID to begin your FAFSA.
      • Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site.
      • On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information.
      • Once the IRS has validated your identification, your IRS tax information will display. You can either transfer your information from the IRS, or choose to return to FAFSA on the Web from the IRS Web site. If you do not transfer your information or choose not to return from the IRS Web site, you will have to login to open your saved FAFSA.
      • If you transfer your IRS tax information, questions that are populated with tax information will be marked with “Transferred from the IRS.

If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information, and CofC requests a copy of your or your parents' tax return, you will be required to obtain an official IRS Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.  See information below on how to obtain an official tax transcript from the IRS.  Personal or tax preparer copies will not be accepted. Submit the IRS Tax Return Transcript to the College of Charleston Financial Assistance and Veterans' Affairs Office.

How to get a Tax Return Transcript:

  • Make sure to request the IRS Tax Return Transcript; not the IRS Tax Account Transcript.  And we cannot accept a 1040 form to verify tax information.
  • Online:
    • Go to the IRS website Get Transcript to request the IRS Tax Return Transcript be mailed to your address on record
    • Transcripts arrive in 5 to 10 calendar days at the address IRS has on file for you
  • By phone:
    • Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946
    • Follow the prompts to enter your Social Security number and street address
    • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript and then enter the appropriate tax year (Amended filers will also choose the IRS Tax Account Transcript option)
    • If successfully validated, you can expect to receive the paper Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in the telephone request within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request

When can I order my tax return transcripts?

The timing of when you can successfully request a copy of your Tax Return Transcripts depends on if you owe taxes at the time of filing, and if you filed electronically or by paper. See below for more details.

 Filer Status

 Electronic Filing

 Paper Filing

Filer who either did not owe an amount, or is expecting a refund

2-3 weeks after submission in most cases

8-11 weeks later in most cases

Filer who owed an amount, and made a full payment while filing

2-3 weeks after submission in most cases

IRS will start processing the tax return in June, Tax Return Transcript requests can be made successfully 2-3 weeks later in most cases

Filer who owed an amount, and made a full payment after filing

3-4 weeks after the payment is processed by the IRS in most cases

IRS will start processing the tax return in June, Tax Return Transcript requests can be made successfully 2-3 weeks later in most cases

Filer who owed an amount, and have not yet paid in full

IRS will start processing the tax return in May, Tax Return Transcript requests can be made successfully 2-3 weeks later in most cases

IRS will start processing the tax return in June, Tax Return Transcript requests can be made successfully 2-3 weeks later in most cases