Topic 255 - Signing Your Return Electronically

When electronically filing your individual tax return, you must electronically sign the tax return using one of three PINs (personal identification numbers); the Self-Select PIN, the Electronic Filing PIN, or the Practitioner PIN method.

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.

If you are unable to access your tax year 2014 return information for electronic signature authentication purposes, the IRS Web application Get Your Electronic Filing PIN can issue a temporary electronic filing PIN (EFP) to eligible taxpayers. Those individuals who are unable to obtain an EFP via the Web application, may obtain additional assistance by calling toll-free at 866-704-7388. The EFP is a temporary PIN that changes each tax year. The EFP functions as an alternate authentication when your prior year AGI or prior year SSP information is unavailable.

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).

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.

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 or EFP 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.

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: December 30, 2015