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Senator Hassan Leads Letter to Education Department, IRS on Students’ Access to Financial Aid

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan led a letter from 10 senators urging the Education Department and the IRS to ensure that tax form changes 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 schedules. 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.

“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,” wrote Senator Hassan and her colleagues. “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 letter – sent by Senators Hassan, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – addresses how the changes to the 1040 tax form could create difficulties for students using FAFSA and asks what the Department of Education will do to mitigate disruption to students. The letter also requests that the Department of Education 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 students from completing the financial aid process.

Senator Hassan previously raised concerns about this issue during a Senate Finance Committee hearing, questioning IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the downsized 1040 tax form.

Read more about the senators’ letter in Politico here, and read the letter here.