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Megan C
Megan C, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10318
Experience:  Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
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I am a U.S. citizen applying for FAFSA, but my parents are

Customer Question

I am a U.S. citizen applying for FAFSA, but my parents are Nigerians. I am currently 16 years old and just completing high school in Nigeria. How I can do my tax returns to enable me get FAFSA through? I would be grateful if I could talk to someone. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  kbrodycpa replied 1 year ago.

kbrodycpa : Hi, you can prepare a tax return for yourself online. If you meet criteria to use it, you can file your return for free at this web site: http://turbotax.intuit.com/taxfreedom/
kbrodycpa :

if you can answer yes to any of the following, you do not need your parent's information to complete your FASFA:

kbrodycpa :

 



  • Were you born before January 1, 1989?

  • As of today are you married?

  • At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?

  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?

  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013?

  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2013?

  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?

  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?

  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?

  • At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?

  • At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?

  • At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?


 

kbrodycpa :

If none of the above apply to you, then you are a dependent student and will need your parent's tax return information. They can file a US non-resident alien tax return to satisfy the filing requirement.

kbrodycpa :

I am switching to Q&A mode since I do not see you online. Please let me know if you have other questions. Good luck with your FASFA application and school. I hope all goes well.

Customer :

Thanks for your help. None of those questions apply to me, so how can my parents file the form online? Would it be too late to use this to correct my FAFSA for this fall? Also, I am not sure what information would be required. My parents have never worked in the U.S. My father uses the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax system, in which his employer (the University where he lectures) deducts his tax before paying his salary and pays it directly to the government. He has a statement from his university showing the amount of tax paid. Also, tax returns here in Nigeria are not as detailed as U.S. tax returns. How can I be put through the process?

Expert:  Megan C replied 1 year ago.
Your parents don't have to file a US Tax return, because they have no tax liability to the US. IF they were to file a form, they would confuse the system.

Here's some ideas:

Contact your parents and ask them how much money they earn in a year. Ask for documentation. If it is not in American dollars then convert it to American dollars. Ask them how much they pay in taxes for the year, convert it to to American dollars. Ask how much they have in assets, savings, every question thats on the fafsa... convert it to american dollars.

Be sure to put your address down on the fafsa and not theirs, be sure you include yourself in the household size even if you don't live with them, be sure you realize you will need their income information until you are married, have kids, turn 24 or earn a bachelors degree. No way around it... you have to have your folks info on the fafsa. No matter where they live.

I would work on this directly with your school's financial aid office. Chances are someone there has worked on a case like this, and will know exactly what to do.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did all the income documentation carefully with my parents. But UC Berkeley financial aid office said my offer would not be official unless I change my parents' tax return status on FAFSA from 'will file' to 'already filed'. I did this and I was told that the information is not from a federal income tax return. I had previously selected 'foreign income tax return', but are you saying that my tax return status should have been 'will not/ not required to file'? What other forms/ documents would be required then? I have sent in many and been in contact with the UC Berkeley, but they are being quite difficult and keep referring me back to tax returns.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I did all the income documentation carefully with my parents. But UC Berkeley financial aid office said my offer would not be official unless I change my parents' tax return status on FAFSA from 'will file' to 'already filed'. I did this and I was told that the information is not from a federal income tax return. I had previously selected 'foreign income tax return', but are you saying that my tax return status should have been 'will not/ not required to file'? What other forms/ documents would be required then? I have sent in many and been in contact with the UC Berkeley, but they are being quite difficult and keep referring me back to tax returns.

Expert:  Megan C replied 1 year ago.
I FOUND THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION!!

Your parents don't need to file US tax returns, you should say they are not required. Then, do the following:

I am an U.S. citizen, but my parents are not. How do I complete the FAFSA? If the student does not meet the definition of an independent student, parental data must still be provided, even if the parents are not U.S. citizens. Parents' social security numbers should be reported as NNN-NN-NNNN their income, if paid in foreign currency, should be converted to the U.S. dollar equivalent and their signature mailed in on the signature page that the student would print from the FAFSA website.

Source: http://www.wfaa.org/docs/students/faqs.html - see item #11
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks. I already did that, but FAFSA is not letting me select 'not going to file' as my parents' income tax returns status. It says that their income is over the minimum amount required for filing a tax return. Is there anything else I could do? I really need to get round this to know if I would continue with my enrollment for fall 2012 at UC Berkeley.

Expert:  Megan C replied 1 year ago.
Well, you can't make your parents file a US tax return. They don't have to. If they filed one and didn't have to, that could o pen up other issues for them.

You really need someone in your financial aid office helping you with this. You might not be able to do the FASFA online -you might have to do a paper version, in which case your financial aid office is your only resource. I'm sorry I can't do this or help you with this myself but I do not work for any colleges or universities.

Try talking to the financial aid supervisor, and if that doesn't work try talking to the Dean of your program. Explain fully the situation. Eventually something will get done. You're just going to have to stay on this. It's going to take more work and effort on the part of the financial aid office which is why you are probably getting this resistance for assistance.

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