2017 FAFSA Changes That We All Like
Will you or your child be filing for financial aid in the 2017-2018 school year? If so, there are some permanent changes to be aware of. Fortunately, the changes should make filing a little easier for you and your CPA.
Change to Submission Date
Typically, you would not be able to file your FAFSA until January 1 of the school year you need aid for. For example, you would have submitted your FAFSA for the 2016-2017 school year on or after January 1, 2016.
Beginning for the 2017-2018 school year, the submission start date has been moved up to October 1, 2016. This change does not affect the federal deadline, but your state and school deadline may be earlier. You can find state deadlines on the FAFSA, and you should visit your school’s website to find the school deadline.
Change to Tax Information Used
In the past, your FAFSA would be filed with the previous year’s tax and income information. To file a FAFSA in a timely manner, families would have to get their taxes filed as soon as possible after the new year, putting quite a time crunch on both them and their CPA.
For the 2017-2018 school year, since the FAFSA can be filed starting in October, you will use your 2015 tax and income information. This means that you will use the 2015 tax information two years in a row. For the 2018-2019 school year, you’ll use your 2016 tax and income information. Both families and CPAs will feel less of a rush to get taxes filed, since by October, you would already have the previous year’s tax information.
While the change in submission date puts less of a time crunch on everyone, there are some potential issues that may arise when it comes time to file your FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year.
If you experienced a significant income drop from 2015 to 2016, that will not be reflected, since the FAFSA will use your 2015 tax and income information. However, you should still contact the school’s financial aid office to discuss any dramatic income changes.
You may have a change of marital status between the two years. The FAFSA will ask you what your marital status is “as of today,” so if there are any changes, your new spouse or ex-spouse’s income will have to be either added or subtracted to the form.
Fortunately, if you have any questions or issues with filing your 2017-2018 FAFSA form, the experienced CPAs at HD Davis are here to help make sure your FAFSA gets filled out and filed correctly and on time. Contact them today.