skip navigation
Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

International
Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Exempt Organization
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics
Worksheets

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - Signing the Return

  1. My spouse passed away last year, and I want to file 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: 11/08/2016

My spouse passed away last year, and I want to file 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 can't 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: 11/08/2016

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

You can sign your tax return electronically by using a Self-Select PIN, which serves as your digital signature when using tax preparation software, or a Practitioner PIN when using an Electronic Return Originator (ERO).
Self-Select PIN - Use the Self-Select PIN method when you're using tax preparation software. The Self-Select PIN 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're 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 paid preparers use and doesn't require a prior AGI amount or prior year PIN. When using an ERO, you must always complete and sign an 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 ERO to select and enter your PIN. If you enter both your own PIN and use the Practitioner PIN method when signing an electronic return, you must still appropriately sign the signature authorization form.