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FAQ's for Preparing and e-Filing Your Own Tax Return


Frequently Asked Questions for preparing and e-filing your own tax return

Why is my date of birth required with this method?

The Date of Birth is required as part of the authentication process for the taxpayer. It will be matched against Social Security Records. The return will be rejected if the Date of Birth does not match. The Acknowledgement Record will contain the field Date of Birth Validity Code. It will advise you if the dates of birth submitted were valid or mismatched. The following values will be returned:

  • "0" = Date of Birth Validation Not Required
  • "1" = All Dates of Birth Valid 
  • "2" = Primary Date of Birth Mismatch
  • "3" = Spouse Date of Birth Mismatch
  • "4" = Both Dates of Birth Mismatch

How can I get my prior year information if I do not have it?

You may call the IRS toll free number at 1-800-829-1040. If you can provide certain information to the Customer Service Representative (such as your name, SSN, and current address), you may receive the prior year original AGI amount or prior year PIN over the phone or you may request a free transcript. Allow 7 to 10 days to receive the transcript. Be sure to ask for the original AGI.

If your prior year information is unavailable, you may be able to obtain an Electronic Filing PIN.

If my spouse and I are filing jointly, do we both need a PIN?

Yes, each taxpayer must sign using a PIN. You will each choose any five digits, except all zeros, as the electronic signatures.

What happens if I use the same PIN as some one else?

It is acceptable for two taxpayers to choose the same five digit PIN. The taxpayer's personal information (Social Security Number, Date of Birth and original Adjusted Gross Income or Prior Year PIN/Electronic Filing PIN from the 2012 tax return) provided to the IRS is used to verify the taxpayer's identity.

My filing status this year is not the same as my filing status last year, what Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or PIN do I use?

If the change is to Married Filing Jointly, then you will use your individual original total Adjusted Gross Income amount or PIN from the respective 2012 tax returns. 

If the change is from Married Filing Jointly, then you will use the same original total Adjusted Gross Income amount or PIN from the 2012 joint return.

What AGI amount should I use to file jointly this year if I have a different spouse than last year?

Use the AGI amount or PIN from the joint return filed with the ex-spouse.

What AGI amount should I use when my spouse earned all the wages?

Both taxpayers on the joint return will use the total AGI amount from the originally filed return. The AGI amount should not be divided between the primary and the spouse.

If the return was filed late, what Prior Year AGI amount should be used?

If the 2012 tax return was not received and processed by the IRS by November 23, 2013, enter “0” (zero) for the AGI amount. If the return is rejected due to mismatch of the Prior Year AGI, resubmit the return using the actual values.

If a 2012 tax return was not filed, what amount should be entered the Prior Year AGI or prior year PIN?

Enter “0”  (zero) for the original Prior Year AGI. Do not leave this field blank. However, the Prior Year PIN/Electronic Filing PIN field should be left blank.

Are all taxpayers who file electronically required to pay any balance due electronically?

No. Taxpayers who prefer to pay by check or money order should file Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.

Can the taxpayer electronically file a joint return if the spouse is unable to sign because he or she is serving in a combat zone, or a qualified hazardous duty area, and the taxpayer does not have a power of attorney or other statement?

If your spouse is unable to sign the return because he or she is serving in a combat zone (such as the Persian Gulf Area, Yugoslavia, or Afghanistan), and you do not have a power of attorney or other statement, you can sign for your spouse. Attach a signed statement to your return that explains that your spouse is serving in a combat zone. For more information on special tax rules for persons who are serving in a combat zone, or who are in missing status as a result of serving in a combat zone, see Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.

If the taxpayer had an ITIN (IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) when they filed their 2012 tax return, but now  have a SSN this filing season (TY2013), what Prior Year AGI amount should be used?

If the taxpayer had ITIN when they filed their 2012 tax return, but now have an SSN to file their 2013 tax return, they should use “0” (zero) as the Prior Year AGI amount.

What Prior Year PIN should be used when the return originally rejected and the corrected return was retransmitted with a different PIN?

The PIN from the accepted e-filed return must be used.



Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 27-Feb-2014