In a letter responding to a request—submitted by NASFAA and signed onto by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the National College Access Network (NCAN), and The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)—for relief of verification burden for non tax filers, ED states that it has begun working with the IRS to find ways to make the process of obtaining a verification of non-filing letter easier for families.
Lynn Mahaffie, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, wrote that ED began work with the IRS prior to receiving NASFAA’s letter in December, but cited ED’s continued concerns about the number of FAFSA applicants who, while indicating on their FAFSA that they did not file a tax return, in fact did. The letter states that ED will continue to review this issue to determine if changes are necessary.
However, at a recent conference, ED staff announced plans to issue new guidance within the next several weeks on Verification of Non-filing (VONF) Letters from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that could allow for more flexibility in documenting non-filing status by expanding what is considered acceptable documentation. The letter gave no indication that such guidance was forthcoming.
ED also interpreted NASFAA’s letter to indicate a misunderstanding of the verification documentation requirements as applying to all non-filers, not only those who are selected for verification. NASFAA is aware that the verification documentation requirements apply only to applicants who are selected for verification.
Publication Date: 2/21/2017