You could be asking yourself, “I didn’t file taxes last year, what should I do?” Or maybe you are silently wondering, “Where do I find last year's AGI?”
The chances are that your previous IRS Self-Select PIN will no longer serve you. Also, you may not be in a position to get last year’s AGI. All these are complications of not filing last year’s taxes. And yet, you are required to have at least one of those numbers to sign and also validate your electronic tax return for the tax year 2021.
Luckily, you have a few options on what you could do to get out of the situation you are in as you self-prepare your taxes.
1. Filling in the AGI
If you have never filed taxes before and are at least 16 years old, when prompted for the AGI, enter the value zero in the original AGI. You should also do the same if you have been filing taxes but did not do so the previous tax year. Don’t leave the section blank.
However, if you are under 16 years, you must file a paper return.
2. Using Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)
To ensure no one uses your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file taxes for the current year, you can create an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN), which is a six-digit number generated for use each calendar year.
You could do that by using the online "Get an IP PIN" tool after getting an IRS account. Alternatively, if you have an AGI of $72,000 or less, you could apply through Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), and fax or mail it to the IRS. After that, you will receive your IP PIN via the U.S. Postal Service.
The third option is to book an appointment and attend an in-person meeting at your local Taxpayer Assistance Center to get your identity verified.
Once you have your IP PIN, you could use it to verify who you are when the tax preparation software or any other IRS-associated site prompts you for your identity. And you can use that instead of an AGI PIN for taxes. In addition, you could use it to identify yourself when filing a paper tax return.
It is worth noting that if you have experienced identity theft in the past and the IRS has sorted the issue, it will generate a new IP PIN each year via the CP01A Notice. And that is what you would use instead of applying for a new number.
Do remember that the IP PIN can only be used when filing Forms 1040, 1040-PR or 1040-SS. And to enjoy doing so, you must meet the identity verification measures, which include providing an ITIN or SSN.
Should you need specialized help getting your IP PIN, reach out to the IRS via 800-908-4490 during weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
Read More: Form 1040: What's Changed for Your 2020 Tax Return
3. Getting Your Self-Select PIN
The Self-Select Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a unique five-digit number (five zeros are not allowed) that you will use to electronically sign your tax return via a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tax preparation software or an Electronic Return Originator (ERO). And the software can generate it for you if you authorize it to. It is available to those filing Form 1040 and Form 4868.
Typically, you will be requested to use the previous year’s Self-Select PIN. But that would be impossible to provide if you did not file taxes. In that case, you should leave the previous year’s PIN section blank, while entering “0” in the AGI section.
If you have the IP PIN, you don’t have to learn how to find the AGI for last year. And since it is a secure form of identifying you as the taxpayer, it may be the best option for you if you don’t file taxes during some tax years.
Read More: Form 1040: What You Need to Know
- IRS.Gov: Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return
- IRS.Gov: Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)
- IRS.Gov: Identity Protection PIN Program will soon be available to taxpayers nationwide
- IRS.Gov: FAQs about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN)
- IRS.Gov: Self-Select PIN Method for Forms 1040 and 4868 Modernized e-File (MeF)
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.