The recent fiscal cliff deal has had many ramifications, including a delay in the start of the tax filing season. The deal created changes in tax laws that led the IRS to announce it would not begin processing 2012 tax returns until January 30, eight days later than originally planned. However, this delay should not keep students and their parents from filling out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Some states have a statewide FAFSA filing deadline. In other states, there is no statewide deadline and the state’s colleges have their own deadlines. Many states have deadlines before the tax filing deadline of April 15. In other states, FAFSA forms are accepted on a rolling basis, but aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To find out if your state has a deadline and when it is, visit the FAFSA website.
Even if you have not yet completed your 2012 tax return, you can use end-of-year pay stubs and bank and brokerage account statements, as well as last year’s return, to make estimates for this year. Be sure to select the “will file” option on the FAFSA. Then, after you file your 2012 return, you’ll be required to update your FAFSA. You can manually input information from your 2012 tax return into the FAFSA, or, beginning February 3, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website to transfer this information directly.
So don’t delay; file your FAFSA today!