Tax Filing Delay Increases Institutional Burden

admin ., File Review and Verification, Financial Aid Industry News

Posted:  November 1, 2013

Tax season isn’t exactly what most people look forward to, unless you’re expecting a refund or you’re a financial aid administrator. Unfortunately, the most recent news is bad for both. Because 90% of the IRS was furloughed during the government shutdown, the technological implementations required for processing tax returns, and subsequent refunds, is reportedly three weeks behind. However, the tax-filing deadline of April 15, 2014 remains unchanged, creating a significantly tighter crunch time for tax filers. Naturally, this does not sit well with the 123 million Americans that receive tax refunds each year.

Likewise, for financial aid administrators, this delay can create an enormous burden. Administrators have urged students and their families to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1st. The hope has been that student aid packages could be generated earlier and student rosters could begin finalization for the upcoming academic year. However, parents and students will now be filing later and completing FAFSAs later and subsequently, verifications will be selected later and files will be completed later. In the 2013 tax season the IRS experienced similar technology delays, and some filers had returns still processing three months after early submission. It is hoped that the 2014 delay will not be as long, but only time will tell.

When tax returns are finally processed, institutions may see a sudden increase in financial aid data. One way institutions could manage the surge of student information, and, ultimately, the shortened time frame given to resolve student verification, is to utilize a remote verification service. HEAG offers such a service, which allows institutions to select all, or some, of their students for HEAG’s verification team to correspond with students, create electronic files of submitted documents, complete the verification process, and enter data into an institution’s student information system as appropriate. This service greatly reduces the administrative burden on financial aid teams, but also provides significant relief to the headaches coming as a result of tax season. For more information regarding HEAG’s services, please e-mail us at or call us at 617.928.1975.