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Topic 255 - Signing Your Return Electronically

When electronically filing your individual tax return, you must electronically sign the tax return using a personal identification number (PIN); the Self-Select PIN or the Practitioner PIN method.

Self-Select PIN - The self-select PIN (SSP) method requires you to use your date of birth and either your original prior year adjusted gross income (AGI) or your prior year SSP to authenticate your identity. You must select a five-digit PIN that can be any five numbers (except all zeros) that you choose to enter as your electronic signature. If you file a joint return, each spouse needs to select their own SSP to sign the return.

Practitioner PIN - The Practitioner PIN method is another signature option that does not require you to provide the prior year AGI, date of birth, or PIN for authentication. This method requires you to sign and give the tax professional an authorization form, Form 8879 (PDF), IRS e-file Signature Authorization. If you use this method and select your own PIN in the electronic return record after reviewing the return, you must still provide the tax professional the signed authorization form. Similar to the SSP, you can use any five digits (except for all zeros).

Additional Considerations

Primary taxpayers under age 16 who have never filed an individual return and secondary taxpayers under age 16 who did not file for 2014 are ineligible to use the SSP method to sign the electronic return. These individuals may still e-file by using a paid preparer who uses the Practitioner PIN method. There are no age restrictions when using the Practitioner PIN method.

Generally, you may e-file your tax return even if you are required to submit certain paper forms or supporting documents. Use Form 8453 (PDF), U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return, to transmit required paper forms or supporting paper documents.

The IRS advises keeping a copy of your tax return for your records to assist with electronically signing your next year's e-file return. If you need a copy or a transcript of your return, refer to Topic 156 for assistance.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: October 10, 2016