By Sheryl Ross-Mahoney, USA Funds Senior Policy Specialist
The Internal Revenue Service is working to combat taxpayer identity theft. You may have students or parents who are victims of identity theft, and there are specific documents you should collect as you complete verification for these applicants for the 2013-2014 award year.
Victims of identity theft cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. And they cannot obtain tax transcripts until the identity theft matter is resolved, which can take up to a year. So verifying such students or parents can be a challenge.
A U.S. Department of Education Electronic Announcement provides details on performing verification for the victims of identity theft.
Essentially, there are two groups of applicants who are victims of identity theft — those with an IRS Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit, and those without that form.
You first should determine if your student or parent has an IRS Form 14039. Note that the school should not require the student to file that IRS Form. Only the IRS can determine who is required to file the form.
Victims of identity theft with an IRS Form 14039 must submit both of the following:
- A copy of the signed Form 14039 that was submitted to the IRS.
- A copy of the paper tax return signed by the tax filer.
Victims of identity theft without an IRS Form 14039 must submit either of the following:
- A signed copy of the filed tax return and a copy of a filed police report.
- A signed copy of the filed tax return and a statement signed by the tax filer that the filer was the victim of identity theft that the IRS is investigating.
More information about identity theft and verification is available through the Department’s Program Integrity Questions and Answers website; DOC-Q15 addresses this topic specifically.
You also can contact my colleagues and me in USA Funds Ask PolicySM with any questions about identity theft and verification or any other federal financial aid issue. Use our online form.
Additionally, the recording and materials from the USA Funds® University Feb. 26 verification webcast are available from the USA Funds University Webcast Recordings page.