If you have a high school student in your house who is a junior this year, you are in luck. Next year the government will allow you to use this year's 2015 tax return to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is required for students who want federal aid.
Parents of this year's high school seniors however are not that lucky. They are expected to use their 2015 tax return to file the FAFSA by college priority deadlines that range from February 1 to March 1. If they are able to file their federal taxes soon, that's not a problem for them. If they can't file soon, then they will have to estimate financial data and correct it on the FAFSA when they do file taxes.
More concerning is that parents of students who are attending colleges that use the CSS Profile, a College Board product, cannot correct that document if they must use estimated data to meet college priority financial aid deadlines. They must notify each college of the corrections they need to make to the CSS Profile which often requires copies of tax returns, W-2 forms and other financial documentation.
Families that have found the college admission application process stressful, should brace themselves for what comes next. After completing financial aid processes, they'll fondly recall the admissions process as a walk in the park.