E-filing your tax return? Prove your identity first

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

e-filing, tax, IRS, refund, fraud, identity theftAs part of its continued effort to thwart tax refund fraud, the Internal Revenue Service strengthened its e-filing validation process for the 2017 tax filing season.

When e-filing a tax return, all taxpayers must validate their identity by submitting their date of birth and “shared secret information” which is:

  • Your 2015 adjusted gross income, or
  • Your 2015 Self-Select PIN (the electronic filing PIN is no longer available as an option).

The new e-signature validation mostly affects those taxpayers who have used tax software in the past but are changing software brands in 2017.

If you are a returning customer, your tax software generally will automatically populate the fields needed to validate your e-signature. These include your date of birth and the “shared secret” information.

Taxpayers who switched software products generally must enter the “shared secret” information themselves. If that’s you, learn more about how to verify your identity and electronically sign your tax return at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

Per the IRS, here are a few important steps:

  1. Find a copy of your 2015 tax return – the original return filed with the IRS.
  2. Create a five-digit Self-Select PIN to serve as your electronic signature. It can be any five numbers except all zeros.
  3. If married filing jointly, each taxpayer must create a Self-Select PIN.
  4. Provide your date of birth when prompted.
  5. Provide either your 2015 adjusted gross income or your 2015 Self-Select PIN as the “shared secret” between you and the IRS. Either number, along with your date of birth, will serve to help validate your identity and verify your e-signature.
  6. On your 2015 tax return, your adjusted gross income (AGI) is on line 37 of the Form 1040; line 21 on the Form 1040-A, or line 4 on the Form 1040-EZ.

Want additional information on what the IRS is doing to protect your personal and financial data? Check out our other blogs at Henry+Horne Tax Insights or visit the IRS at Taxes. Security. Together.

Melinda Nelson, CPA