Technology has streamlined the way that you can file your taxes. Unfortunately, it has also increased the way that unscrupulous individuals can attain your personal information. If you filed your taxes in the past and used an Electronic Filing PIN, you will not be able to use this method of access to file your 2017 taxes or for any year after.
Cyber Attack Hits The IRS
In early 2016, the Internal Revenue Service released a statement regarding their Electronic Filing PIN system. It had been attacked by cyber thieves who were attempting to generate PINs for Social Security numbers that had been stolen. Fortunately, the IRS was able to stop the attackers before any PINs were created. Individuals who were impacted were contacted by the IRS and their accounts were flagged. Since this was during the middle of tax season, it would be inconvenient to shutdown the system. However, the attacks on the system continued. After the April 15 deadline for returns being due, the IRS made the decision to shut down the e-filing service. This went into effect during June of 2016.
Filing Taxes After The Electronic Filing PIN Change
Even though the e-filing PIN service was shut down, you’ll still be able to easily verify your personal identity and electronically file your tax return. You have a few ways to do this:
Option 1. Using a previously issued PIN – If you chose to use a self-selected PIN when you filed your taxes in previous years, you can still use that same PIN to electronically file your taxes for the 2017 fiscal year. You should not notice any difference when you use this method. In addition, if you were contacted by the IRS and received an Identity Protection PIN, you will be able to use that PIN to electronically file your tax returns online.
Option 2. Using your tax return from 2016 – This option allows you to electronically file your taxes by utilizing the adjusted gross income (AGI) figure from your prior year’s tax return. This will allow you to provide information related to your identity and prove who you are. If you used TurboTax to file your 2016 tax return, you will find your AGI on the following lines of each respective tax form:
Form 1040 – AGI is located on line 37
Form 1040-A – AGI is located on line 21
Form 1040-EZ – AGI is located on line 4
Other Options To Verify Identity
There are other ways for you to verify your identity if you do not have a PIN or 2016 tax return. While it’s always a good idea to keep copies of your previous tax returns on hand, “things” (floods, fires or hurricanes) can occur and wreak havoc with those plans. If you are unable to use your 2016 tax return, you can always contact the IRS and have them mail you a copy or provide one to you online. If you are filing for the first time and you are over the age of 16, you can enter an amount equal to zero for your AGI.