When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you’ll be asked to use income information from two years prior to the year you’ll attend college. That means if you’re submitting the 2022-2023 FAFSA, you’ll use your 2020 federal tax return and W-2s. It’s important to complete a FAFSA every year you’ll attend college so be sure to keep the appropriate year’s tax forms in a safe place.
If for some reason you weren’t required to file a 2020 federal tax return, any income you may have earned in that year must still be reported on your FAFSA. It’s even more important to save your W-2, which will show the amount of your income earned from work. Check out Filling Out the FAFSA Form for assistance when providing financial information on the FAFSA.
If you’re considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes, your parent(s) will also be required to report their 2020 income information on this form. Parents who filed a joint return in 2020 should have their income tax return and W-2’s available. Should your parents be divorced, separated or widowed, view the information on which parent to include on your FAFSA. And to determine whether you’ll be considered a dependent or independent student on the 2022-2023 FAFSA, see the Dependency Questionnaire at UCanGo2.org.
Since you must complete the FAFSA each year to apply for federal and/or state financial aid for college, it’s best to keep all needed documentation together in a safe location. This will ensure you are ready to complete the application accurately and quickly. Review the 7 Things You Need Before Filling Out the 2022-23 FAFSA to see a list of other items you’ll want to gather before you complete the FAFSA application.