What jobs do I put on my FASFA?
May 22, 2011 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I left off a job on my taxes when I claimed this year, and now I'm filing a FAFSA. What do I put on my FAFSA? Only the job I claimed, or both? If it matters, the job I left off I only worked at for a few weeks, but I feel like that doesn't matter to the government.
posted by trogdole to Education (13 answers total)
Best answer: If you want to be scrupulous and avoid the possibility of being denied aid because of fraud, you should file an amended tax return declaring all of your income, and then fill out the FAFSA with both jobs.
posted by decathecting at 1:02 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

I left off I only worked at for a few weeks, but I feel like that doesn't matter to the government.

Wha?!??!? :P

I would just put the job on my FAFSA. No sense in covering one blunder with another.
posted by ian1977 at 1:02 PM on May 22, 2011

A data point:

I misread my parent's tax return and used the wrong income amount on the FAFSA.My school's financial aid office called and I had to fill out a verification form to say which amount was the correct one.
posted by rancidchickn at 1:05 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why did you leave the job off your taxes in the first place? Did your employer report your earnings to the government?

IF you intentionally left out income that you were required to report, then yes, you should do as decathecting suggests. if you made a mistake and accidentally left out income you should have reported, you should still do as decathecting suggests. But if there's some reason it wasn't necessary/required to report that income, you might be ok just making your FAFSA match your income tax return.
posted by hansbrough at 1:12 PM on May 22, 2011

If your question is how to make a fraudulent FAFSA application match a fraudulent tax return, then obviously you should come up with a consistent story for both of them. I think honesty is a better policy here though.

Assuming that leaving the job off your tax return was an actual mistake, and that it's just one that seems to minor to be worth correcting: my guess is that in practice you'd be OK including both jobs on the FAFSA application. The government presumably already knows about the other job from your other employer's tax returns (did they perform withholding?); you may simply get a letter from them saying "hey, you left off this tiny chunk of income, we've refigured your taxes for you". Obviously the right thing to do is to file an amended tax return, but in practice it may not be a big deal not to. I am very much not your accountant, lawyer, nor tax professional, however.
posted by hattifattener at 1:35 PM on May 22, 2011

If your question is how to make a fraudulent FAFSA application match a fraudulent tax return...

It's not clear from the question that the poster intentionally left the job off of his tax return (intent normally being a requirement of fraud), so let's avoid accusing him of such.
posted by matlock expressway at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: folks, OP is not anon please feel free to take side conversations there, otherwise please don't speculate on their lack of marking a best answer, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:17 PM on May 22, 2011

Best answer: They can compare what you say with what's on your taxes, and the rules for what counts are more or less the same as far as working income is concerned. File an amended return and a corresponding FAFSA.

Remember: this will cost you (probably) a few hundred dollars, more likely a good deal less (if you didn't earn enough to owe taxes, it might not even cost you anything besides a bit of time.) This buys you an escape from an enormous amount of hassle. Like, massive fines and garnishments and getting kicked out of school hassle.
posted by SMPA at 2:29 PM on May 22, 2011

Best answer: I imagine that filing a FAFSA that does not agree with your tax return will generate maximum bureaucratic confusion, but I haven't been in this situation so I'm only going on other experiences with school forms:

- file FAFSA that agrees with what's on the taxes

- amend tax return, file FAFSA with the missing job information
posted by zippy at 3:33 PM on May 22, 2011

Sorry, missing sentence. I meant to say "so I think you have a choice between, - file FAFSA that agrees ... OR - amend tax return, file FAFSA ..."
posted by zippy at 3:34 PM on May 22, 2011

I believe that if you earned less than $600 dollars from that job that you worked for a few weeks you don't have to claim it. I could be wrong on the amount, but when I filed my taxes I didn't receive a W2 from one place I worked at for 2 weeks and my accountant told me I didn't even need the W2 form because I earned less than a certain amount of money. Don't quote me on the numbers, double check this with another accountant that is licensed in your state.
posted by melizabeth at 8:07 PM on May 22, 2011

melizabeth: If wages to an individual are less than $600 in a year, the company is not required to report them to the government (by, e.g., sending out 1099 forms), but you are still liable for paying taxes on it as income. Technically, if someone pays you $20 to mow their lawn, you are required to report this as income on your tax return.

What may have happened in the situation you mentioned, is that your total income was low enough that you were not required to file a return. But that's quite a separate issue.

Note: It can often be in your best interests to file a tax return even if you aren't required to; it's the only way you can obtain any refund due to you.
posted by teatime at 8:36 PM on May 22, 2011

Your FAFSA should match your tax filing or else there may be problems. If you received a W2 from that short-term job you need to amend your tax filing. If there is a legal W2 form then the job DOES matter to the government, and it is silly to assume otherwise.
posted by twblalock at 8:37 PM on May 22, 2011

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