How to Sign an E-File If You Have Never Filed Taxes Before

E-file makes it easy to file your income tax forms.

E-file makes it easy to file your income tax forms.

As taxpayers become more computer-savvy, the Internal Revenue Service keeps up by providing more electronic options for filing income taxes. The IRS e-file has provided taxpayers with secure tax return transmittal for over 20 years, enabling the transmittal of about 1 billion 1040 forms, according to the IRS. Even if you’ve never filed before, you can sign an e-file and send your income tax return to the IRS electronically. Because the IRS uses a five-digit PIN to identify taxpayers from previous years, you won’t have this number. That’s O.K. though. The IRS has a plan for this situation.

Step 1

Use a service such as “Free File” through the IRS or TurboTax or TaxACT to complete your income tax return electronically.

Step 2

Find the “prior year AGI” line of the income tax form. This will be line 37 of Form 1040, line 21 of Form 1040A or line 4 of Form 1040EZ. Place a “0” on this line to indicate that you did not earn income in the previous tax year that required income tax filing.

Step 3

Leave the Prior Year PIN/Electronic Filing PIN field blank at the end of the form. Because you entered “0” in the AGI field, you will not need a PIN.

Step 4

Complete the form and submit it according to the specific requirements for the service or software you are using. Because you entered a “0” in the AGI field and left the PIN field blank, your form should submit without issue.


  • If you see an error indication after placing a “0” in the prior year AGI line, look for a box to check that notes that you placed a zero in this space. This should eliminate the error alert.
  • When you're ready to e-file your income tax return in subsequent years, you'll be eligible to receive a self-select PIN. Visit the IRS Electronic Filing PIN Request Web page or call the IRS at 866-704-7388 to begin the short request process.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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