Financial Aid Training
Percentage of questions on the paper FAFSA that directly mention income, taxes, or a line from a tax return.

Why Financial Aid Training?

The Department of Education states that financial aid professionals are not expected to have special knowledge or expertise regarding the U.S. tax code. Even so, it requires them to identify students and parents who should have filed a tax return and did not, and identify incorrectly filed returns.

Online Training Solutions

We have moved our training for the 2020-2021 training season online so that we don’t need to meet in large groups or travel.  We will be offering in-person again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Training workshops fall into two tracks – the FM Verification and Conflicting Information track, and the Business and Real Estate Tax Returns track.  Each track consists of four, two-hour long, core webinars.  Webinars are available a la carte with a discount for schools and associations that purchase four or more webinars.

All training listed below will focus on the 2021-2022 academic year with 2019 as the base year, and will be available starting on September 2, 2020.  2020-2021 (2018 base year) training is also available.

Webinar Descriptions

FM Verification and Conflicting Information track

The four core programs in this track cover the tax-related information the Department of Education expects financial aid officers to understand.  Each webinar is a stand-alone offering – it is not necessary to view them in the order listed.

The actual agendas are subject to change, but all content shown will be available.

Core Webinar 1 – 2021-2022 Verification Basics and Verification of Tax Filers

  • Overview of verification for the 2021-2022 aid year
  • Verification when the student is eligible for the Auto Zero EFC
  • Documentation requirements for tax filers in the verification population
  • Verification of tax filers using the IRS DRT, tax returns, and tax transcripts
  • Verification when a tax filer has a rollover
  • Professional judgment when a taxpayer has Roth IRA conversion income

Core Webinar 2 – Verifying Non-Tax Filers, and Who Must File a Tax Return

  • Documentation requirements for non-tax filers in the verification population
  • Verification of tax extenders
  • Comprehensive review of the income issues that trigger an IRS tax filing requirement
  • Gross income, self-employment income, household employee income, and other income

Core Webinar 3 – Filing Status and FAFSA IRS Mismatches

  • Overview of the five filing statuses
  • Focus on individuals who report they are married but filed using the head of household status
  • IRS codes related to marital status and filing status mismatches
  • Splitting an AGI and calculating the income tax for 2019 for a separated or divorced person who submits a joint tax return

Core Webinar 4 – Amended Tax Returns, Income Earned from Work

  • Documentation requirements when an ISIR is flagged with IRS Request Flag 07 and for filers of amended tax returns
  • IRS Form 1040X and related documents
  • Proper reporting of income earned from work on the FAFSA
  • Unusual income situations: foreign income, filers married to non-filers, Puerto Rico tax exempt income, combat pay, and tax-exempt United States earned income
  • Addressing ISIR Reject Code 20

Supplemental Webinar – Assets

This webinar is not included in the program core and is offered as a supplement to the core.

  • Overview of asset-related guidance
  • Proper reporting of assets on the FAFSA
  • When to report business, trust, and real estate assets – and when they are not reportable
  • What does the Department say about asset-related conflicting information?

Business and Real Estate Tax Returns track

After completing the four core programs in this track, aid officers will be able to review most real estate and business tax returns to determine a business’s available income (compared to taxable income) and value.  This track can be customized to your school’s specific approach to business income and expenses, and may include case reviews at your request.

Core Webinar 1 – Introduction to the Business Structures and Business Tax Forms

  • Schedule C and Schedule E (rental properties)
  • Forms 1041, 1065, 1120S, and 1120
  • Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S), and Schedule K-1 (Form 1041)
  • How business and trust income flows into the personal tax return

Core Webinar 2 – Introduction to Business and Real Estate Income and Expenses

  • Introduction to business and rental property income and expenses
  • Taxable income vs. business profit vs. available income
  • Depreciation, amortization, and other expenses that distort business cash flow
  • Case reviews to convert taxable income into available income

Core Webinar 3 – Assigning a Value to Businesses and Rental Properties

  • How are business values determined?
  • External resources that can help determine a business or property value
  • Comprehensive review of the business balance sheet

Core Webinar 4 – Your Cases or More Cases

  • Clarification of any questions that arise after the first three webinars in the series
  • More case reviews
  • Your case reviews – if you’d like to share cases with Robert

Supplemental Webinar – Advanced Personal Tax Return Review

This webinar is not included in the program core and is offered as a supplement to the core.

  • Review of Form 1040 and the numbered Schedules for unusual asset and income indicators
  • Asset indicators on the personal tax return
  • Imputing asset values
  • Unusual income and deductions and how to address them

Short Programs or Conference Sessions

The content in our FM Verification and Conflicting Information track can be broken into smaller pieces for clients who need targeted training and for delivery at in-person and virtual conferences.  Please contact Robert Weinerman for up-to-date program information and pricing.

We are always interested in meeting the needs of the higher education community.  If there is a specific training topic related to taxes or need analysis that you would like Iron Bridge Resources to offer, please let us know.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Robert Weinerman

Director of Training

Robert does a terrific job presenting complex tax information in a systematic way. His training materials are comprehensive and serve as excellent reference documents. He researches questions needing further IRS clarification and delivers the information promptly. I highly recommend him and Iron Bridge Resources for tax workshops.

Maureen FagenNHASFAA Training Chair

Robert, thank you for your fabulously informative Tax Workshop. Your detailed explanations were greatly appreciated. The content was clearly presented and, while incredibly thorough and in-depth, I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I gained new knowledge and have references and resources to turn to as I begin the verification season.

Colleen Mulrooney BarkerAssistant Director of Financial Aid at Fairfield University