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