When you print and mail your tax return, your signature validates the information and personally identifies you. When you e-file, you don't have that option. In lieu of a physical signature, the IRS uses a Self-Select PIN method to electronically authorize your e-file.
In the TaxAct filing steps, you will be prompted to create your Self-Select PIN and provide one of two authentication numbers:
If you remember the Self-Select PIN you created when you e-filed last year, enter it. If it matches what you created last year, you will be able to move on.
If you don't have last year's Self-Select PIN, you will need to enter the AGI amount from your 2020 return (Form 1040, Line 11). If you filed an amended return last year, make sure to use the AGI amount from the first return you filed.
If you (or the secondary taxpayer on the return) are under the age of 16, or if you have never filed a tax return, you must file a paper return.
If you're over 16, you can use your prior-year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount listed on the 2020 Form 1040, Line 11 to confirm your identity.
Use the same AGI amount for both spouses. Do not split this amount in half. Enter the whole AGI amount for both taxpayers (even if one spouse did not have earned income). If you filed an amended return, be sure to use the amount from the return you filed first.
Select I am a first-time filer or I did NOT file a 2020 tax return on the screen titled E-Filing - Prior Year Information. If you are married and your spouse filed last year, enter the prior year AGI for that spouse and zero (0) for the spouse who has never filed before.
If you didn't file Married Filing Jointly last year but you plan to this year, each spouse will list their unique AGI from last year.
If the change is from Married Filing Jointly, then both taxpayers will use the same original AGI from last year's joint tax return. If you filed jointly with a different spouse last year, use the total AGI amount from the joint return filed with the ex-spouse.
This can happen if you made any changes to your return after e-filing last year, but before importing this year. If that situation applies to you, follow these steps: