Fixing Your PIN Rejection

e-filing, preparation | April 25, 2016 | By Bob Williams

correcting a PIN reject

You’ve just e-filed your return, sending your annual bundle of joy screaming through cyberspace toward the IRS. Then you get the news. Your return was rejected by the IRS because the PIN number you entered during filing wasn’t what it was supposed to be. Now what?

Not to worry. You have some options.

Remember that the basic premise is that the IRS is expecting to receive a certain set of numbers from you. That’s what the PIN is. The numbers you sent weren’t what their computer was expecting to get. So now you just have to make sure you’re sending what they’re wanting.

The simplest and quickest way to correct your return is to get an IRS Electronic Filing PIN, available at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Electronic-Filing-PIN-Request

You'll be presented the option to get this PIN during e-filing. When you reach the page for identifying yourself to the IRS, click the link to get an e-filing PIN, then enter it in the box provided.

On the next screen you’re asked to provide a 2016 PIN, which is just a number you make up. This is a separate number from the one you entered previously. Continue and finish e-filing your return.

AGI Option

Although the IRS PIN option is usually quickest and easiest, if you’re unable to obtain an Electronic Filing PIN, you can instead enter your 2015 AGI. Just click the “Use My AGI Instead” link for entering the AGI, then enter the amount from last year’s income tax return.

If you filed Form 1040EZ, look on line 4; if you filed Form 1040, look on line 37; and if you filed Form 1040A, check line 21.

What if you didn’t file last year? Trick question! If you didn’t file last year, simply enter a zero for your AGI. Actually, it’s a double trick question. If you just click the NO button on the screen asking if you filed last year, we'll put a zero in the AGI line for you automatically.

A couple of fine points: if you amended your return, use the AGI from your original return. And joint filers should use the same AGI for each spouse; don't split the amount with your spouse.

Of course, if all else fails, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. Their system can look into the archives and see what they’re expecting to get. Just know that you might need a healthy dose of patience for this method. The IRS tends to get a little backed up in the phone department. So if you can, use the automated method.