How to Request the IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter

 

If you’re trying to secure college financial aid or determine your federal aid eligibility through a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you may need to obtain a Verification of Non-filing (VNF) Letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

I often have clients who struggle to find IRS forms or obtain documents from the IRS. Since this particular letter may be instrumental in saving you moolah for college, I’ve outlined below exactly what you need to do and know to obtain this letter.

What is an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter?

The IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter serves as your proof from the IRS that you didn’t file a tax return for the year you’re verifying. It does not, however, show whether you were required to file a return for that year. You can obtain this letter after June 15 for the current tax year or anytime throughout the year when requesting the verification for previous tax years. The letter is provided free of charge from the IRS.

Why would I need an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter?

When filing your FAFSA paperwork, you may be selected for what they call “verification.” This means that you’ll be required to submit tax documentation and/or other financial paperwork to verify the information you provided on your FAFSA paperwork.

If you didn’t file taxes, you will need to obtain and submit an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter during your verification process. Likewise, if you are applying for some scholarships or other financial aid opportunities, you may be asked to submit this letter to other organizations or institutions as well.

When going through the FAFSA verification process, independent students or parents of dependent students will need to supply the verification letter, but dependent students will not need to. You’ll know whether you’re considered an independent or dependent student because the FAFSA provides questions that help you determine your dependency status. These questions ask about your age, marital status, veteran status, and other similar qualifications.

How do I get an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter?

To receive your verification letter, you’ll need to complete a Form 4506-T with the IRS. If you are requesting the letter for the current or prior three tax years and you have previously filed taxes, you can usually do this online, which will likely be the easiest way to submit the information and obtain your letter.

However, if you need the letter for any year before the previous three years or you’ve never filed taxes before, you’ll need to request your non-filing letter by phone or submit Form 4506-T through snail mail.

How do I request the IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter online?

First, go to the “Welcome to Get Transcript Page” on the IRS website. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Click the blue button halfway down the page that says “Get Transcript Online.”
  2. Follow the instructions for creating a free account or log into your account if you already have one. If you need to create a new account, you must provide your email address, birthdate, Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number, tax filing status, and current address. In order to verify your identity, you’ll also need to provide some of the numbers from one of your financial accounts such as a credit card, student loan, mortgage, or auto loan. Some types of accounts won’t work, such as an American Express card or a corporate card, so it’s good to have a few numbers out and ready when signing up.
  3. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll choose “Verification of Non-filing Letter” and select the tax year you need.
  4. If everything goes well, you’ll soon be viewing your IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter. You can print this letter and send it to the financial aid office at your school following the instructions they’ve given. Make sure to print an extra copy to keep for your records.

How do I request the IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter by phone?

First, call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the prompts to provide your Social Security Number and address. You’ll need to give the address (numbers only) that matches what they have on file from you for your latest return, so if you’ve never filed a tax return, this might not work for you.
  2. Select option 2 to request an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter and enter the year for which you need the verification.
  3. If everything goes well, you will receive your verification letter within 5-10 days. You can send this letter to the financial aid office at your school following the instructions they’ve given. Make sure to make a copy to keep for your records.

How do I request the IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter by mail?

First, download the Form 4506-T. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the instructions on the form to complete lines 1-4.
  2. On line 7, check the “Verification of Non-filing” box.
  3. On line 9, enter the last day of the year for which you’re requesting verification. Make sure to follow the example provided.
  4. Sign, date, and enter your phone number.
  5. Mail or fax your completed Form 4506-T to the address or fax number provided on page 2 of the form.
  6. If everything goes well, you will receive your verification letter within 5-10 days. You can send this letter to the financial aid office at your school following the instructions they’ve given. Make sure to make a copy to keep for your records.

What if I run into address matching problems?

The IRS often wants you to verify the address they have in their system from your most recent tax return. Sometimes this presents problems because you may have written your address differently on different forms. For instance, you may have written the word “street” one place and then abbreviated it as “St.” somewhere else. If you’re having issues, you can use the USPS website to find the standardized version of your address. You can also contact the IRS at 1-800-876-1715 to see if they can help.

What if I can’t get an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter?

There may be some instances where you are not able to obtain the verification letter. Follow this guidance for those situations:

  • If your parents live outside of the United States and therefore can’t obtain the Verification of Non-filing Letter, you can provide a signed statement that includes the name of the person who wasn’t required to file taxes as well as the name of the country where the person lived and the year(s) the person lived there. You’ll need to provide a separate, signed statement for each non-filer listed on the verification worksheet. Make sure to include the student’s name on each signed statement as well.
  • If you’ve tried to obtain the letter from the IRS and have run into issues, you can provide a signed statement attesting to the fact that you attempted to obtain the letter and were unable to do so. Document on your statement what you did and when.

Action Steps:

  • Don’t wait to obtain your Verification of Non-filing Letter. The process isn’t complicated, but it can take some time if you’re not able to request the letter online, so get started now.
  • Pay attention to details and instructions when completing the Form 4506-T so your verification letter isn’t denied or delayed.
  • Keep a copy of your verification letter with your other important documents.
  • If you have tax questions or problems completing tax forms, contact an accountant you can trust.

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Amy Northard, CPA

The Accountant for Creatives®
+ taxes + bookkeeping + consulting
+ Hang out with me over on Instagram!

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