August 07, 2019

Kaine Joins Letter To Education Department, IRS To Help Students’ Access Financial Aid

Senators’ Letter Highlights Changes to Tax Form That Could Disrupt Students’ FAFSA Applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Maggie Hassan and 8 of their colleagues on a letter urging the Department of Education and the IRS to ensure changes on tax forms following passage of the Republican tax law do not jeopardize students’ access to financial aid. In an attempt to make good on Congressional Republicans’ political promise that their tax law would allow people to file their taxes on a “postcard,” the Treasury Department removed essential tax information from the core 1040 tax form and hid that information on six separate, equally complicated forms. These changes disrupted functions of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students to automatically and accurately fill in their family’s tax information on their FAFSA form for student aid. In the letter, the Senators highlighted how the changes to the 1040 tax form could create difficulties for students using FAFSA and asked what the Department of Education will do to mitigate disruption to students.

“It is imperative that the Department of Education and IRS work together collaboratively to fix the problems created by Treasury’s changes to the 1040 tax form,” the Senators wrote. “Simplifying the financial aid process and FAFSA form has long been a bipartisan objective, and everyone should be united in addressing this issue as soon as possible.”

The Senators called on the Department of Education to outline what will be done to ensure that students who misreport information because of the changes will not be subject to additional arduous information reporting that could discourage them from completing the financial aid process.

The letter is also signed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

You can read the full text of the letter here.