As opposed to the amount of gross income you made last year, your adjusted gross income (AGI) takes into account certain adjustments to your income. Your AGI is the amount of income you made which is the basis for many of the tax calculations when filing your taxes. That’s an important number come tax time, but not just because it impacts the deductions you’re eligible for—your AGI is now also a kind of identification.
The article below is accurate for your 2017 taxes, the one that you file this year by the April 2018 deadline, including a few retroactive changes due to the passing of tax reform. Some tax information below will change next year for your 2018 taxes, but won’t impact you this year. Learn more about tax reform here.
If you plan to e-file your tax return, you may need to first find the amount of AGI from last year's return in order for the IRS to verify your identity. You can find your AGI on the form you used to file your last year's return.
Finding Your AGI
There are four IRS forms that reflect AGI, each of which shows the amount on a different line:
Find the name of your tax form—1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040NR—on the upper left hand corner of your return.
If you used online tax software, you can typically login and download a copy of your prior year’s 1040 tax return to find your AGI.
If you used TurboTax, read this helpful FAQ on where to find last year’s AGI to sign this year’s tax return.
The IRS defines AGI as "gross income minus adjustments to income." Depending on the adjustments you’re allowed, your AGI will be equal to or less than the total amount of income or earnings you made for the tax year. Remember to consider all sources of income that contribute to your AGI, including:
- Wages on a W-2 or 1099 form
- Self-employment income on a Schedule C
- Interest and dividends
- Alimony from an ex-spouse
- Capital gains
- Rental income
- Other earnings subject to income tax
AGI doesn't include exemptions or standard or itemized tax deductions, so set those aside to figure into your taxable income later.
Importance of the AGI
Your AGI impacts the many of the deductions and credits you can take at tax time. That’s especially important because deductions and credits can increase your tax refund or reduce the amount of taxes you owe. Depending on your filing status, you may be subject to an AGI limit—a dollar amount that limits the deductions you can take—which usually applies to higher income earners.
Generally, the more deductions and credits you take, the lower your taxable income. Remember, with TurboTax, we'll ask you simple questions and fill in the right tax forms for you to maximize your tax deductions.
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