AGI, Self-Select PIN, and Electronic Authentication

All taxpayers filing electronically must use the Self-Select PIN method. 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. This must be authenticated using one of the following 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 create your Self-Select PIN and provide one of the authentication numbers during the filing steps in TaxAct® (click Filing then E-File My Return. On smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then select Filing).

Who is eligible to use the Self-Select PIN method?

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.

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 38
  • Form 1040A - Line 21
  • Form 1040EZ - Line 4

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

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, choose I am a first-time filer or I did NOT file a 2017 tax return on the screen titled E-Filing - Prior Year Information.

If only one spouse has previously filed, enter the prior year AGI for that spouse and zero (0) for the spouse who has never filed before.

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

If your filing status changed 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.