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Instructions for Form 1040-A

Sign Your Return(p68)

Form 1040A is not considered a valid return unless you sign it. If you are filing a joint return, your spouse must also sign. If your spouse cannot sign the return, see Pub. 501. Be sure to date your return and enter your occupation(s). If you have someone prepare your return, you are still responsible for the correctness of the return. If your return is signed by a representative for you, you must have a power of attorney attached that specifically authorizes the representative to sign your return. To do this, you can use Form 2848. If you are filing a joint return as a surviving spouse, see Death of a taxpayer, later.
Court-appointed conservator, guardian, or other fiduciary.(p68)
If you are a court-appointed conservator, guardian, or other fiduciary for a mentally or physically incompetent individual who has to file Form 1040A, sign your name for the individual and file Form 56.
Child's return.(p68)
If your child cannot sign the return, either parent can sign the child's name in the space provided. Then, enter By (your signature), parent for minor child.
Daytime phone number.(p68)
Providing your daytime phone number may help speed the processing of your return. We may have questions about items on your return, such as the earned income credit, credit for child and dependent care expenses, etc. If you answer our questions over the phone, we may be able to continue processing your return without mailing you a letter. If you are filing a joint return, you can enter either your or your spouse's daytime phone number.
Electronic Return Signatures!
To file your return electronically, you must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number (PIN). If you are filing online using software, you must use a Self-Select PIN. If you are filing electronically using a tax practitioner, you can use a Self-Select PIN or a Practitioner PIN.
Self-Select PIN.(p68)
The Self-Select PIN method allows you to create your own PIN. If you are married filing jointly, you and your spouse will each need to create a PIN and enter these PINs as your electronic signatures.
A PIN is any combination of five digits you choose except five zeros. If you use a PIN, there is nothing to sign and nothing to mail—not even your Forms W-2.
To verify your identity, you will be prompted to enter your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your originally filed 2011 federal income tax return, if applicable. Do not use your AGI from an amended return (Form 1040X) or a math error correction made by IRS. AGI is the amount shown on your 2011 Form 1040, line 38; Form 1040A, line 22; or Form 1040EZ, line 4. If you do not have your 2011 income tax return, call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to get a free transcript of your return or visit and click on Order a Return or Account Transcript. (If you filed electronically last year, you may use your prior year PIN to verify your identity instead of your prior year AGI. The prior year PIN is the five digit PIN you used to electronically sign your 2011 return.) You will also be prompted to enter your date of birth (DOB).
You cannot use the Self-Select PIN method if you are a first-time filer under age 16 at the end of 2012.
If you cannot locate your prior year AGI or prior year PIN use the Electronic Filing PIN Request. This can be found at Click on Request an Electronic Filing PIN. Or you can call 1-866-704-7388.
Practitioner PIN.(p68)
The Practitioner PIN method allows you to authorize your tax practitioner to enter or generate your PIN. The practitioner can provide you with details.
Form 8453.(p68)
You must send in a paper Form 8453 if you have to attach certain forms or other documents that cannot be electronically filed. For details, see Form 8453.
Identity Protection PIN. (p68)
For 2012, if you received an IRS notice providing you with an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), enter it in the IP PIN spaces provided below your daytime phone number. You must enter your IP PIN exactly as it is shown on the Notice CP01A you received. If you did not receive a notice containing an IP PIN, leave these spaces blank.
New IP PINs are issued every year. An IP PIN should be used only for the tax year it was issued. IP PINs for 2012 tax returns generally were sent in December 2012.
If you are filing a joint return and both taxpayers receive an IP PIN, only the taxpayer whose social security number (SSN) appears first on the tax return should enter his or her IP PIN.
If you received an IP PIN but misplaced it, call 1-800-908-4490, extension 245. If you need more information or answers to frequently asked questions on how to use the IP PIN, go to
Paid preparer must sign your return.(p69)
Generally, anyone you pay to prepare your return must sign it and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) in the space provided. The preparer must give you a copy of the return for your records. Someone who prepares your return but does not charge you should not sign your return.