Common AGI, Self Select PIN, and electronic signature questions.

All taxpayers filing electronically must use the Self-Select PIN method. The IRS no longer accepts Form 8453 as a signature document. The only other option is to paper file your return.

To e-file using the Self-Select PIN method, you will create a 5-digit PIN of your choice to sign your return. This "signature" must be authenticated using one of the following three numbers:

  • Prior year adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Prior year Self-Select PIN (the 5-digit Self-Select PIN you created to file last year)

The IRS requires one of these numbers to verify your identity. You will be asked to create your Self-Select PIN and provide one of the authentication numbers during the final steps in filing your return.

Most taxpayers will be able to file electronically using the Self-Select PIN method. If you (or the secondary taxpayer on the return) are under the age of 16, you must file a paper return.

What is the Self-Select PIN method?

The Self-Select PIN (Personal Identification Number) method allows taxpayers to electronically sign their e-filed return by using a 5-digit PIN as their signature.

Where do I get my PIN?

You create your own PIN. You do not register the PIN with the IRS before filing or need to contact the IRS to get it. The five-digit PIN can be any five digits except all zeros.

What is the original Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)?

The original AGI is the amount from your prior year originally filed return as accepted by IRS. The amount can be located on:

  • Form 1040 - Line 37
  • Form 1040A - Line 21
  • Form 1040EZ - Line 4

Do not enter a corrected amount or the amount from an amended tax return.

How do I get my original AGI or PIN if I cannot locate last year's return?

If you do not have a copy of your 2015 tax return, you may use the IRS Get Transcript self-help tool to get a "Tax Return Transcript" showing your AGI.

  • Use IRS's Get Transcript Online to immediately view your AGI. You must pass the Secure Access identity verification process. Select the "Tax Return Transcript" and use only the "Adjusted Gross Income" line entry.

  • Use IRS's Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946 if you cannot pass Secure Access and need to request a "Tax Return Transcript".  Please allow 5 to 10 days for delivery. Use only the "Adjusted Gross Income" line entry.

What AGI should each spouse use if we filed jointly last year?

If the prior year's return was filed using the status of married filing jointly with the same spouse, use the same prior year amount for both spouses. Do not split this amount in half. Enter the whole, original AGI amount for both taxpayers even if one spouse did not have earned income.

What if I did not file a return with the IRS last year?

If you have never filed before, or if you filed last year using an ITIN and have an SSN this year, enter zero (0) for your prior year AGI. Do not leave the fields blank.

What do I use for the original AGI if my filing status has changed since last year?

If your filing status changed from the previous year to Married Filing Jointly, then each taxpayer will use their individual original AGI from their respective prior year return.

If the change is from Married Filing Jointly, then both taxpayers will use the same original AGI from last year's joint tax return.

What AGI or PIN do I use if I filed jointly with a different spouse last year?

If you filed jointly with a different spouse in the previous year, use the total AGI amount from the joint return filed with the ex-spouse.