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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 using online filing software?

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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: 12/17/2014

How do I sign my tax return when I e-file using online filing software?

You sign your tax return using the Self-Select PIN method, which 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:
If you need to know the eligibility requirements or you cannot locate your prior year AGI or prior year PIN, see Self-Select PIN Method for Forms 1040 and 4868 Modernized e-File (MeF).