Department’s Guidance Notes Change to Verification for Identity Theft Victims

By Sheryl Ross-Mahoney, USA Funds Senior Policy Specialist

The U.S. Department of Education recently noted a significant change related to verification for victims of identity theft — and the USA Funds® policy team has received additional clarification on the issue.

In an Electronic Announcement, the Department shared the change, which affects 2014-2015 verification requirements. For the upcoming award year, a tax filer who is the victim of identity theft must contact the Internal Revenue Service by phone at (800) 908-4490.

Then, once the IRS authenticates that tax filer’s identity, it will mail a printout of the 2013 income tax return to the individual. Appendix A of the Department’s Electronic Announcement provides additional information.

The Department also provided clarification to the USA Funds policy staff, noting that in these situations schools will not be required to collect any additional documentation to verify the filer’s tax data. The printout the school must use for verification will contain the text “CURRENT-STATUS:MF DUPLICATE RETURN POSTED.”

It’s a good idea for schools to review their institutional 2014-2015 verification policies to ensure that the policies address this latest guidance from the Department. Note that ED also indicated to the USA Funds policy team that additional guidance on the issue of identity theft victims and verification is forthcoming.

Do you have questions on the issue of identity theft and verification — or any other federal financial aid policy? Send those questions to us through USA Funds Ask PolicySM using our online form, and we’ll get back to you — generally within a business day.