Icon Tax Group: IRS Offers Tips on Validating Your Identity on Your Tax Return

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Michael Lodge –

You should always keep a copy of your tax return. It is even more important for 2017, as the Internal Revenue Service moves to strengthen its e-signature validation process.

You must use your 2015 adjusted gross income or your 2015 self-select PIN to validate your identity on your federal electronic tax return this tax season. The electronic filing PIN is no longer available as an option.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry – partners in combating identity theft -ask for your help in their efforts. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.

That’s why we launched a public awareness campaign that we call “Taxes. Security. Together.” We’ve also launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.

As part of the IRS efforts to protect taxpayers, the e-signature validation change mostly affects those taxpayers who have used tax software in the past but are changing software brands in 2017. 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.

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.

This change will not affect most taxpayers. For example, if you are a returning customer, your software generally will automatically populate your date of birth and “shared secret” information. Those of you who switched software products generally must enter the “shared secret” information yourself.

If you don’t have a copy of your 2015 tax return, you may be able to get a copy from your prior-year software provider. If your software account is still active, you may be able to view your 2015 federal return to find your AGI. Or, you may ask your prior-year tax preparer for a copy if you had your return prepared professionally. If those are not options, you may use a Get Transcript self-help tool on IRS.gov to get a Tax Return Transcript showing your AGI.

Use Get Transcript Online to immediately view your AGI. You must pass the Secure Access identity verification process. Select the “Tax Return Transcript” and use only the “Adjusted Gross Income” line entry.

Use Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946 if you cannot pass Secure Access and need to request a Tax Return Transcript. Please allow five to 10 days for delivery. Use only the “Adjusted Gross Income” line entry.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry joined together as the Security Summit to enact a series of initiatives to help protect you from tax-related identity theft. You can help by taking these basic steps.

To learn additional ways you can take to protect your personal and financial data, visit “Taxes. Security. Together. Also read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.