Verification Instructions

These 2019-2020 instructions apply to the Fall 2019 - Summer 2020 terms.

Every year, the federal government selects a portion of FAFSA applicants and requires them to complete this verification process. 

If they select you, we will notify you by email.  

If they don't select you, please do NOT submit these documents.

If you have questions, please see the FAQs at the bottom of this page or contact us.

Step 1 - Submit a TU Verification Worksheet

  • These are online forms. After you click the final submit button, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to view your "Completed Document."
  • Do NOT fax or email us your worksheet because we will automatically receive it.

If you are a Dependent Student (because your FAFSA required parent data), complete these worksheet steps:

  1. The student must begin the online form and complete the student section.
  2. We will email the form to your parent, and s/he must complete the parent section.
  3. We will email it back to the student who must electronically sign  the final worksheet and submit.
  4. The student will receive a submission confirmation email.

2019-2020 Worksheets for:


Step 2 - Submit your Tax Documentation 

Students and parents (of dependent students) must also submit tax documentation. 

Write the student’s name and TU ID on all documents.

For all questions use the following tax return years:

  • For 2019-2020, use 2017 Tax Year data

if you filed a tax return

If the student or the parents listed on your FAFSA filed a tax return for the tax year listed above, then each tax-filer must submit the tax documentation that matches your tax return type below.

Required Documents for tax filers with:

Regular IRS Tax Returns
  • Use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) (fastest processing)
  • or, a signed copy of your IRS tax return (form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ)
  • or, submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
Amended IRS Tax Returns (1040X)
  1. Submit a signed copy of your 1040X-Amended Tax Return
  2. and, submit a signed copy of your original tax return (IRS form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) or a Transcript of your original tax return.
IRS Tax Returns with Pension Rollovers
  1. Submit a copy of your IRS 1099-R
  2. and, submit a signed copy of your tax return (IRS form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) or a Tax Return Transcript.
(IRA/Pension Rollovers are listed on IRS 1040 form lines 15a-15b or 16a-16b or IRS 1040A Form lines 11a-11b or 12a- 12b.)
Foreign or U.S. Territory Tax Returns
  • Submit a signed copy of the foreign/territory tax return and, if applicable, an English translation.  
  • If you also filed an IRS tax return, then you must also follow the relevant IRS Tax Return instructions listed above.


All IRS tax filers must choose one of the following methods to submit your tax return data.

IRS TAX filer Documentation methods

The FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool is the fastest method.

This method is fastest because we can automatically process your data instead of scanning and manually reviewing it.

  1. Log into your FAFSA for the Tax Return Year listed above.

  2. Select Make FAFSA Corrections.

  3. Go to the Financial Information section.  Use the Previous and Next buttons to choose the student or parent financial data.
  4. If you haven't already done so, choose Link to IRS to complete the retrieval process.
  5. If student and parent both filed taxes, complete step 4 in both sections.
  6. Electronically sign and submit your FAFSA corrections.
  7. Next, the FAFSA processor will send us your data.
Signed Copies of Your IRS Tax Return (Slower)

If you can't use the FAFSA DRT, or have Amended Tax returns or IRA Pension rollovers, we can accept a signed copy of your federal tax return (IRS form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ). 

We just need a copy of your tax return.  The 1040 and 1040A forms are usually 2 pages, and the 1040EZ is usually 1 page.  We don't need all the supporting tax schedule documents. 

Please submit tax returns by fax, mail or the Verification Worksheet Upload tool.  Don't email them because they contain your SSN. 

IRS Tax Transcripts (Slower)

If you can't use the FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool, and don't have a copy of your federal tax return follow these instructions to order an IRS Tax Return Transcript. 

  1. Request a "Tax Return" Transcript.
  2. If your parents are married but filed separate returns, you must submit transcripts for both of your parents.
  3. Use the IRS Get Transcript service. 
  4. After you receive your transcript, write the student name and TU ID on it, and submit it to our office.

If you had a 1040X, they will issue a Transcript of your original return, and we need that Transcript and a signed copy of your 1040X.

If you have trouble requesting a tax transcript, try entering your address exactly as it was listed on your tax return or enter your address at Look Up a Zip Code to get your standardized USPS address.


if you did not file a tax return

If the student or the parents listed on your FAFSA did not file a tax return for the tax return year listed above (and were not required to file one), then you must submit the non-filer documentation requested below.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS - Dependent students
  • If you are a dependent student, and you worked during the tax year listed above, then you must submit W2 forms for all of your employers
  • (Dependent students do not have to submit proof that they didn't file taxes.)
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS - Independent Students and Parents of Dependent Students
  1. ALL parents and independent students must submit proof that they didn't file a tax return for the Tax Return Year listed above.  
  2. You must choose one of the Non-Filing Status Documentation Methods listed below.
  3. If you worked, you must also submit W2 Forms from ALL of your employers.

Non-Filing status Documentation methods

A - Request a Verification of Non-Filing Letter Online (fastest option)

Use the IRS Get Transcript service to request a Verification of Non-Filing Letter.

B - Request an IRS Tax Return or Account Transcript

We can also accept an IRS Tax Return or Account Transcript that says “no transcript on file” or “no record of return filed.”

C - If option A and B don't work, use our form

If you can’t get a VNF Letter from the IRS using option 1 or 2, use our TU form for the appropriate aid year. 

D - Parents who are residents of Foreign Countries

Residents of foreign countries must submit:

  1. Documentation of the filing requirements from the relevant tax authority that prove that you weren't required to file taxes
  2. and, a signed statement from you confirming that you weren't required to file taxes and that lists all your sources and amounts of income.
E - Parents who are Undocumented U.S. Residents

Undocumented parents whose income is above the IRS filing threshold must file taxes. If your income is below the threshold, you must submit:

  1. Copies of any W-2 Forms you received
  2. and, a signed statement from you that certifies that you don't have a SSN and that lists the sources and amounts of your earnings for the tax year listed above.

Submitting Your Documents

  • Write the student’s name and TU ID on all forms!
  • Do NOT resubmit your online "Verification Worksheet" by fax, mail, or email because we automatically receive it electronically after you click the submit button.
  • Please do not email tax documents because they contain social security numbers.

Choose one of these submission methods

The FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool is the fastest option for tax-filers

This is the fastest way to submit student or parent tax return data.  See instructions above.

Upload your documents with your TU Verification Worksheet

If you already have the correct documentation available when you complete your online TU Verification Worksheet, you can upload your documentation and submit it with your Verification Worksheet.  Please scan your documents into a single PDF document that contains all relevant pages.  Do not submit pictures of your documents.

Fax your documents to 410-704-2584

Please do not call to confirm receipt of faxes. Please wait two business days, then login to Online Services and confirm that the request has dropped off your To-Do-List.


Financial Aid Office
Towson University
8000 York Road
Towson, MD 21252-0001

To drop off your forms, visit our office

Enrollment Services Center, Room 339
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.




Why was I selected for verification?

The federal government uses a variety of factors when selecting FAFSA applications for verification. Some of the factors are random and some are based on the data that you reported. You can reduce your chances of being selected again by using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Process.

Will I need to submit updated income data from the next tax year once it's available?

No. The FAFSA only requires income data from the "Tax Return Year" listed above. You don’t have to update anything when you complete the next tax returns.

Do I need to provide my stepparent’s data?

Yes. Federal aid regulations insist that you provide financial data for your parent’s current spouse unless your parent is separated from that spouse and they are no longer living together.

How does this process define legal parents?
Please read the federal guidance on Reporting Parent Data on your FAFSA.
How should parents who are separated complete the verification worksheet?

If both of the TU student’s legal parents are separated, but are still living together in the same house, apartment condo, dwelling, etc., then you must check “Unmarried but living together,” and you must report both parent’s information and financial data. The FAFSA rules define “legal parents” as the student’s biological, adoptive, or other parents as determined by state (for example, the parents listed on the students birth certificate). Do not list any person in the parent section who is not married to your parent and who is not a legal or biological parent.

If you are the student’s FAFSA parent, and you are “Divorced or Separated and living apart” from the student’s parent or separated from a current spouse that is not the student’s parent, then check the “Divorced or Separated” box and do not list your spouse or their financial data on the Verification Worksheet. If you are an Independent student and you are separated from your current spouse, then do not list his or her data on your Verification Worksheet. If you filed a joint tax return with that spouse for the requested tax year, then you must submit 1) copies of your W-2 forms from all of your employers, and 2) a signed copy of your federal tax return (1040, 1040A, or 1040EX) or a Tax Return Transcript .

How can we report parent enrollment in college?

You cannot report parent enrollment in college on the Verification Worksheet. If your parent will be attending college full-time, please submit our 2019-2020 Parent in College Form.

Who can't use the FAFSA IRS data retrieval tool?
  • Married couples who filed separate tax returns instead of a joint tax return for the "Tax Return Year" listed above.
  • Anyone who changed marital status after the end of the "Tax Return Year" listed above.
  • Couples who are married, but one spouse filed as head of household for the "Tax Return Year" listed above.
  • Anyone who didn’t file a federal IRS tax return or who filed a foreign or U.S. territory return for the "Tax Return Year" listed above.
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a valid social security number.


Office of Financial Aid

Enrollment Services
Room 339
All Contacts & Resources
Mon-Thurs, 8:30 am-5 pm; Fri, 8:30 am-4:30 pm (Call Center)

Mon-Thurs, 8 am-5 pm; Fri, 8 am-4:30 pm (Reception Desk)