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TAX Filing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



College Readiness (FAQs)





Q:   Where's my refund?

A:   Whether you opted for direct deposit or asked IRS to mail you a check, you can track your refund through this secure Web site.


Q:   What should I do if I make a mistake on my federal return that I have already filed?

A:   It depends on the type of mistake that you made:

  • Many mathematical errors are caught in the processing of the tax return itself.
  • If you did not attach a required schedule the service will contact you and ask for the missing information.
  • If you did not report all your income or did not claim a credit, you are entitled to file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF)Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.


Q:   How much does a student have to make before he or she has to file an income tax return?

A:   If you are an unmarried dependent, you must file a tax return if your earned and/or unearned income exceeds certain limits.

  • To find these limits refer to Filing Requirements for Dependents in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.
  • Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return to get money back if any of the following apply:

    1. You had income tax withheld from your pay.
    2. You qualify for the earned income credit.
    3. You qualify for the additional child tax credit.

Refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information for an explanation of the five exemption tests and filing requirement rules.


Q:   How do I get a copy of a prior-year tax return and W-2?

A:   If you filed your tax return with us, then you can get a copy of your records upon request. Otherwise, if you need a copy of a previously filed and processed tax return and all attachments (including Form W-2), you should complete Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the address listed in the instructions, along with a $57.00 fee for each tax year requested.



Q:   Do I need an EIN number if I am a sole proprietor?

A:   If you are a sole proprietor, the IRS does not require one. Instead, you can use your Social Security Number and report your income and expenses on a Schedule C tax form. However, if you have one or more employees, you will need an EIN number.



College Readiness FAQs


Q:   How do I apply for Financial Aid?

A:   Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA) is the first step toward getting federal and university aid for college.

Q:   Will I need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year?

A:   Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one award year to the next, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each award year in which you are or plan to be a student. Your eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including your family’s financial situation, number of family members enrolled in college and in the household.

Q:   What types of aid are available?

A:   There are Federal Grants, Federal Loans, Federal Work-Study Program, State Grants, University Scholarships and University Grants.

Grants are typically awarded on the basis of need and generally do not have to be repaid. There are four types of federal student grants:

  • Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. (In some cases, students enrolled in postbaccalaureate teacher certification programs may receive Federal Pell Grants.)

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The amount of the award is determined by the college’s financial aid office, and depends on the student’s financial need and the availability of funds at the college.

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants are awarded to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. If the service requirement is not fulfilled, it could turn into a loan.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are awarded to students whose parents or guardians were members of the Armed Forces and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. To qualify, a student must have been under 24 years of age or enrolled in college at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death.

Loans consist of money that the student borrows to help pay for college, and must be repaid (plus interest). There are two federal student loan programs:

  • The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a campus-based program that provides low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students. The amount of the award depends on the student’s financial need, the amount of other aid the student receives, and the availability of funds at his/her college.

  • The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program enables students and parents to borrow money at low interest rates directly from the federal government. The Direct Loan Program includes Direct Stafford Loans, which are available to undergraduate and graduate students, and Direct PLUS Loans, which are available to parents of dependent students and to graduate and professional-degree students. A Direct Stafford Loan might be subsidized or unsubsidized. Direct PLUS Loans are always unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on financial need and are available only to undergraduate students. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the borrower is in college and during deferment. Unsubsidized loans are based on the student's education costs and other aid received. The borrower must pay all accrued interest on unsubsidized loans.

The Federal Work-Study Program enables students to earn money during the school year while also gaining valuable work experience, typically in part-time, career-related jobs.

Other forms of financial aid that might be available to students include:

  • State aid. For more information, contact your state’s higher education agency.

  • Aid from the college/university (grants & scholarships).

  • Third party scholarship and awards from outside agencies (churches, community organizations, private employers etc.).