Tax Returns Pages

Adjusted Gross Income or Prior Year AGI: 2021

What is your Adjusted Gross Income and why is it needed? Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is your total gross income minus certain deductions, which reduces your income before tax calculations are made. Consider your AGI as the starting point on your return which is used by the IRS to determine if you are eligible for other tax deductions and credits. Depending on the tax year, your AGI is on your Form 1040, somewhere around Lines 10-14 and says "This is your adjusted gross income".

  • The 2021 AGI is used by the IRS as identify validation when you e-File your 2022 tax return.
  • The 2021 AGI amount is on Line 11 on the 2021 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. When you electronically file your 2022 year tax return, the prior year (or 2021) Adjusted Gross Income or AGI is used by the IRS to validate your identity on your 2022 Tax Return when you prepare and eFile your taxes.

Where is your 2021 AGI and how to enter it when e-Filing:

  • If you filed or e-filed a 2021 Return in 2022, enter your 2021 AGI found on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 11. Your 2021 tax return PDF is in your My Account on eFile.com.  If the IRS - not eFile.com - rejects your return due to mismatching AGI data, find out what to do when a correct AGI amount on a filed tax return resulted in an IRS rejection.
  • If you did not use eFile.com for your 2021 tax returns look up your AGI on your Form 1040 Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 11 and enter it during checkout on eFile.com.
  • If you did not file a 2021 Return or you are affected by the IRS verification processing delays as described below, enter "0" for $0 as your prior-year AGI verification. Keep in mind, you are not lying about your 2021 tax return, however in this case you are matching the 2021 AGI with the amount the IRS currently has on file due to delayed return processing.
  • Regardless of your filing method, if you cannot retrieve this figure, create or view your IRS Account and locate your 2021 transcript as it shows the 2021 AGI.
  • If you filed a 2021 Return using the non-filers tool for the Advance Child Tax Credit or 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, enter "1" for $1 as your prior-year AGI verification.

Here, you will find instructions on how to obtain and/or correct your 2021 AGI after you have e-Filed a tax return. See step-by-step instructions to obtain your AGI and view more details on IRS 2021 and 2022 processing delays.

2021 AGI Instructions, Tips

AGI Update: The IRS announced on January 7, 2022 that nearly 6 million returns and 2.3 million tax amendments had not been processed.1) This does not mean your 2021 Return was not accepted. However, as a result, your actual 2021 AGI might not match the one the IRS has on record for you. For example, even though you might have filed a 2021 Return, the IRS might not have entered this into their system, maybe due to COVID-19, thus you might have to enter 0 - the number zero - as your 2021 AGI on your 2022 Return in order to get it accepted by the IRS. This is because you need to match what the IRS has in their system, regardless of whether this is right or wrong, in order to get your return accepted. At the same time, if you enter 0 and the IRS does have the actual 2021 AGI dollar amount on record, your return would get rejected as a mismatch.

2021 AGI rejection issue | How to correct your AGI for eFile.com users.

In order to e-file your 2022 return in 2023, the IRS requires you to provide the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your previous year's return as a form of identification for e-filing - it is not needed if you mail your return. An incorrect 2021 AGI on your 2022 Return will result in a tax return rejection by the IRS and/or state tax agency. It is easy to correct your AGI and resubmit your return if this happens. If you filed your 2021 Return on eFile.com, your 2021 AGI is ready for you when you prepare and eFile your 2022 Tax Return. If you DID NOT prepare and e-file your 2021 Tax Return on eFile.com, click here to get your 2021 Adjusted Gross Income if you do not already have it.

Tip: Use eFile.com in 2023 when you prepare and eFile your 2022 Return and your 2022 AGI will be in your account in 2024 - sign up here.

How to Obtain, Find Your 2021 Tax Return AGI

Follow these detailed instruction how to obtain your 2021 AGI. Keep in mind, you can also obtain and use an IP-PIN (Identity Protection - Personal Identification Number) as an alternative to your 2021 AGI during the tax return e-Filing process.

Here are three ways to locate your 2021 Adjusted Gross Income, AGI: 

1) If you e-Filed your 2021 Tax Return on eFile.com, sign into your eFile.com account and view and/or download your PDF tax return file from the My Account page. Find your prior-year AGI on Line 11 of your 2021 Form 1040

2) If you filed elsewhere and you have a copy of your 2021 Tax Return, find your AGI on Line 11 of IRS Form 1040, 1040-SR, and 1040-NR. Note: Form 1040-NR cannot be e-filed anywhere - see information on the various 1040 forms.

3) If you did NOT eFile your 2021 Tax Return on eFile.com and you don't have a copy of your 2021 1040 Form, you can get a free transcript now from the IRS online. See detailed instructions on how to obtain an IRS transcript or tax return copy. 

Get Return Transcript

This is a free service provided by the IRS and your prior year AGI will be on the transcript listed as ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME. You can then enter it on eFile.com during the checkout and e-file process for your 2022 Tax Return. You can also call the automated IRS Transcript Order Line at 1-800-908-9946 if you can not get your transcript online, and order it by phone.

You can also formally request a copy of your return from the IRS if you did not use eFile.com for the tax year in question. If you filed your previous returns on eFile.com, we store returns for eFile.com customers for 7 years. If the previous return is not in your account, you can request a copy here.

Important notes:

  • If you e-filed (or filed) your 2021 Tax Return later in 2022 (in September or later), then the IRS most likely will NOT have an updated 2021 AGI for you in their systems. Therefore, you will need to enter "0" as your prior-year AGI when you e-file your 2022 Tax Return (see instructions below for more details).
  • If you filed a tax amendment for your 2021 Return and your Adjusted Gross Income changed as a result, you will need to use the changed AGI amount from your amendment instead of the one on your originally filed 2021 Tax Return. If, however, this is rejected, attempt to e-file again using the original AGI.

Once your 2022 Tax Return is accepted by the IRS via eFile.com in 2023, we suggest returning the following year to prepare and eFile your 2023 Tax Return as your 2022 AGI will be in your eFile.com account and you won't have to search for it. 

IP PIN in 2023: In 2023, taxpayers can obtain their own Identity Protection PIN or IP PIN. See more details on the IRS issued IP-PIN.

Steps to Enter Your 2021 Adjusted Gross Income on eFile.com

Note: The image below is for informational purposes only and is not interactive. If you are not filing your tax return with the Married Filing Jointly filing status, you will only see one AGI box for yourself.  

Once you have your 2021 AGI, sign into your tax return and follow the instructions below:

1.) Click File on the left menu box.

2.) You will see your refund/balance due amount. Click Continue.

3.) Your return will be completed and when it is finished (after going through the checkout process), click Continue. Click View Return if you want to view/print your forms. This is highly recommended so that you can see the final return that is to be submitted to the IRS and to make sure that you haven't entered anything incorrectly.

4.) Next is the E-filing Your Return screen. Make sure you select the return(s) you want to eFile and click Continue.

5.) Select if you want to have your tax refund mailed or deposited to your bank account and click Continue. For the fastest way to get your tax refund, we generally recommend direct deposit to your bank account.

6.) You will be asked if you (and your spouse if your filing status is Married Filing Jointly) filed a tax return last year. Select Yes and click Continue. If you did not e-file or file a tax return last year, answer No. We will automatically enter 0 as the number to verify your identity with the IRS (0 is your AGI for 2021 if you did not or have not yet filed your 2021 Return, you did not have any income that year, or the IRS does not have record of your 2021 AGI for any reason).

7.) If you select Yes for filing a tax return last year, the next screen is: To E-file, You Must Identify Yourself to the IRS. Enter your AGI in the box next to the Enter last year's AGI line. If you are filing a joint tax return, enter the same AGI for you and your spouse (if you or your spouse did not file or e-file a tax return last year, enter 0 in the appropriate AGI field). Once you have entered your AGI(s), click Continue. (Note: the image below is for informational purposes only and is not interactive. If you are not filing a Married Filing Joint tax return, you will only see one AGI box for yourself. If you cannot locate your prior year AGI, you will need to print your return, sign it, and mail it to the IRS so it can be filed. There is no need for IRS AGI acceptance when mailing in your return since the AGI is not needed to establish your identity on a mailed return.

How to enter prior-year AGI

8.) Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) - You are asked if you (and/or your spouse) received an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS. This 6-digit PIN is either assigned by the IRS to a victim of identity theft or is requested by a taxpayer and sent to you in a letter from the IRS via certified mail. Click Yes if you received one and enter the IP PIN on the next screen; otherwise, click No. You can also obtain a new IP-PIN here.

9.) Personal Identification Electronic Signature PIN - You are asked to create any 5-digit PIN to electronically sign your return. This can be any five numbers you choose except 12345 or all the same digits, such as 55555.

10.) Click Continue and, on the next screen, check the I'm not a robot box and click E-file to submit your return.

You are done! You will receive an email confirming that your return has been accepted by the IRS. You should hear back from the IRS in 24-48 hours concerning the status of your return. If you do not receive an email, make sure you do not have a spam filter blocking it. If your return is rejected by the IRS, don't worry as you can sign back into your account and see the reason why the IRS rejected it (on the My Return screen) with step-by-step instructions to correct and resubmit your return.

Important: You can eFile your tax return as many times as you need to at no extra charge. Simply correct your AGI and eFile or re-submit your tax return again.

To get more help entering your prior year AGI, contact an eFile.com Taxpert to receive personal assistance on correcting and re-filing your tax return so the IRS accepts it. 

What About the PIN?

Many PINs are being referred to when e-fling your return. To help with any confusion you might have, here is an explanation of them all:

1.) IP PIN - This stands for Identity Protection Personal Identification Pin and is the IRS assigned (or taxpayer requested) 6 digit PIN to enter when you e-file your return. You will ONLY need to enter this PIN if you have received it from the IRS. The IRS will generally send your IP PIN to you in a letter, but you can obtain your IP PIN online via the IRS website.

2.) Electronic Signature PIN - This is a 5 digit number that can be randomly selected by you when you e-file your return. You do NOT need to use the same signature PIN as you used last year. It can be any five numbers you choose except 12345 or all the same digits, such as 55555. On eFile.com, you enter this PIN at the last step of the check out and e-file process.

3.) Electronic Filing PIN, or eFile PIN - This PIN is no longer needed when you e-file your return as the IRS stopped using this PIN with 2018 Returns. You now need your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your previous year's tax return when you e-file your current year return.

What is a MAGI?

MAGI stands for the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. It is also referred to as the household’s Adjusted Gross Income with certain tax deductions added to your income and any tax-exempt interest income. Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) in similar to the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) with more adjustments e.g. exempt or excluded income and certain deductions. The MAGI is used to determine eligibility for certain deductions, credits and retirement plans. MAGI can vary depending on the tax benefit. The MAGI is used to determine if a taxpayer qualifies for the following tax benefits:

  • Roth IRA contributions if your MAGI is under the IRS specified limits.
  • Deduct your traditional IRA contributions if you and/or your spouse has a work-based retirement plan. You can contribute to a traditional IRA no matter how much money you earn, but you can’t deduct those contributions when you file your tax return if your MAGI exceeds set limits.
  • If a taxpayer is eligible for the Premium Tax Credit which lowers your health insurance premiums for health plans bought via the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • It establishes eligibility for income-based Medicaid.

1) Source: Ways and Means Committee Report February 2021.

2) Source: IRS Report January 7, 2022.

WatchIT