How to Answer the “Parents Filed 2016 Income Tax Return?” Question when Parents Did Not File a Joint Federal Tax Return

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This is guidance for question 80 on the FAFSA.

The table below can be used to answer the “Parents Filed 2016 Income Tax Return?” question if the student’s parents have two different tax filing statuses. For example, parents may have two different tax filing completion statuses if they are married and choose to file “married, filing separately” or if they are unmarried and living together.

If one parent… …And the other parent… Then answer the tax return filing status question:
Already completed Already completed Already completed
Already completed Will file Already completed – The other parent’s tax return information will need to be estimated on the initial application. Once the other parent completes his/her tax return, the tax return information will need to be updated as part of a correction.
Already completed Not going to file Already completed
Will file Will file Will file – Both parents’ tax return information will need to be estimated on the initial application. Once they complete their tax return(s), the tax return information will need to be updated as part of a correction.
Will file Not going to file Will file – The parent’s tax return information will need to be estimated on the initial application. Once he/she completes his/her tax return, the tax return information will need to be updated as part of a correction.
Not going to file Not going to file Not going to file

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