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IRS.gov Website

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - Signing the Return

  1. My spouse passed away last year, and I will be filing a joint return. How should I file, how should I sign, and are there any special notations required to indicate my spouse is deceased?
  2. How do I sign my tax return when I e-file?

Rev. date: 10/22/2015

My spouse passed away last year, and I will be filing a joint return. How should I file, how should I sign, and are there any special notations required to indicate my spouse is deceased?

Note: You cannot file a final joint return with your deceased spouse if you as the surviving spouse remarried before the end of the year of death. The filing status of the decedent in this instance is married filing separately.

Rev. date: 06/22/2016

How do I sign my tax return when I e-file?

You can sign your tax return electronically by using a Self-Select PIN or a Practitioner PIN.
Self-Select PIN - Using the Self-Select PIN method, allows you to electronically sign your individual income tax return by selecting a five-digit personal identification number (PIN). The PIN can be any five numbers (except all zeros) that you choose to enter as your electronic signature PIN.
If you are filing a joint return, each spouse uses his or her own PIN. As part of the authentication process, each taxpayer also enters his or her date of birth and either his or her:
Practitioner PIN - The Practitioner PIN is a method that does not require a prior AGI amount or prior year PIN. When using this method, you must always appropriately sign a completed signature authorization form such as the Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization. Under this method, you may either enter your own PIN into the return or authorize your Electronic Return Originator to select and enter your PIN. If you use the Practitioner PIN method and enter your own PIN in the electronic return record after reviewing the completed return, you must still appropriately sign the signature authorization form.