How Does a First-Time Tax-Return Filer Get a PIN?

by Alia Nikolakopulos

    To file a tax return electronically, you must use a Personal Identification Number to serve as an electronic signature. PINs can be established in one of several ways for first-time filers.

    Step 1

    Create a PIN for yourself. An electronic filing PIN consists of any five numbers, though you cannot use five zeros. Regardless of whether you use a paid tax preparer or call the IRS to obtain a PIN, you can establish a set of numbers that will be easy for you to remember. You are not required to use the same PIN each year you file.

    Step 2

    Hire a tax professional. A tax professional can obtain authorization from a first-time filer to generate a PIN on his behalf. Tell the tax preparer which PIN to use if you wish.

    Step 3

    Call the IRS at 1-866-704-7388. IRS agents at this number issue Electronic Filing PINs. Listen to the prompts and select the option to speak with an agent. Tell the agent you are a first-time filer and need a PIN to file your return. The agent will ask questions to verify your identity, such as your birth date, address and Social Security number. You can provide your own PIN if you wish.

    Tip

    • Self-selected PINs can't be issued to first-time filers under age 16. A first-time filer who is younger than 16 must file a paper return or allow a paid tax professional to select an electronic filing PIN on his behalf.

    About the Author

    With a background in taxation, Alia Nikolakopulos specializes in business and personal finance topics. She is an IRS enrolled agent pursuing a Bachelor of Science in accounting and journalism at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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