Tax season will soon be upon us, and it won’t be long before you’ll want to release 1098-Ts to your students. Here’s a look at what you’ll need to know about the 2021 forms and how Populi can help you get the job done.
First, a quick overview of the process before we dig into the details:
- On the first day of the year, Populi automatically generates 1098-Ts for all students who were charged or enrolled sometime in the previous year. The forms are populated by information from the students' records.
- Once that happens, the 1098-T report updates for the new calendar year. Starting there, your team checks amounts, deals with any error notifications, and makes any necessary adjustments.
- You release the 1098-Ts to your students.
- Finally, you use the export options to send out the released forms and even generate a file to use with the IRS' e-File system.
Deadlines and requirements
2021’s 1098-Ts need to be released to your students by January 31, 2022. You’ll need to file these forms with the IRS by February 28. As for reporting requirements (which sometimes change from one year to the next), there are no new changes: you’re still reporting any qualified expenses—tuition, fees, and any required enrollment expenses—paid for a student in the 2021 tax year... which Populi has already compiled for you!
Of course, if you have any questions about the official IRS instructions, you can find them at ye olde I-R-S-dot-GOV website.
Using the 1098-T report
The report in Financial Aid > Reporting > 1098-T gives you all the tools you need to review, revise, release, and export the forms. It shows you what Populi has automatically calculated for the 1098-T's various boxes based on the Student Billing and Financial Aid information you’ve been entering throughout the previous year. For a detailed look at the numbers we crunched for each box, click the magnifying glass to see how Populi used the figures from all relevant invoices, payments, and awards.
Should you find numbers that need revision—maybe your school started with Populi partway through the year and some of the information is tied up in another system—click the pencil to adjust any of the values for that student’s form. After you save your revisions, a plus sign will appear next to the student's name. And if you see an orange triangle, you’ll need to go to that student’s Profile and enter their Social Security Number. Without that, the form can’t be submitted to the IRS!
(If you find yourself in that incomplete 1098-T data boat, this Support article describes how to import that information from another system into Populi.)
To see how the numbers will appear on the IRS form, click the eye to preview the student's 1098-T.
Releasing and exporting
Once the numbers look good, you can release them to your students—all at once or just a few at a time. Check next to the students’ names, click Actions, and select Release. Review the information in the dialog: the College EIN and phone number are drawn from Financial Aid > Settings, and the checkbox certifies that you’ve done your darndest to make sure these forms are as accurate and complete as possible. Finally, click Release to Students. Once you do that, the students will be able to find and download their forms on their Profile > Financial > Dashboards (and be notified by email).
After release, you can make use of the Export actions to generate the forms in various formats: Excel, CSV, or PDFs (in case you need to mail them to students). You can also generate a TXT file that you can upload to the IRS e-File system.
Thus, 1098-Ts in Populi. They take a huge burden off your staff and their ease and simplicity are not unknown to bring grown men to tears. Of course, if you need further pointers, Populi Support would love to hear from you.