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  5. How to Find Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to E-file Your Tax Return

How to Find Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to E-file Your Tax Return

Updated for Tax Year 2021 • February 23, 2022 01:49 PM


OVERVIEW

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is an important number come tax time, especially if you're planning to e-file. Not only does it impact the tax breaks you’re eligible for—your AGI is now also a kind of identification.


For tax years beginning 2018, the 1040A and EZ forms are no longer available. They have been replaced with new 1040 and 1040-SR forms. For those who are filing prior year returns, you can continue to use form 1040A or EZ for tax years through 2017.

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Key Takeaways

• If you e-file, the IRS may ask for your AGI from last year’s return in order to verify your identity.

• Your adjusted gross income (AGI) consists of the total amount of income and earnings you made for the tax year minus certain adjustments to income.

• For tax year 2021, your AGI is on Line 11 on Form 1040, 1040-SR, and 1040NR. It is located on different lines on forms from earlier years.

• Your AGI often impacts the tax breaks you’re eligible for.

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

Various versions of Form 1040 reflect the AGI amount on different lines:

  • Line 11 on Form 1040 and 1040-SR (on tax year 2020 form)
  • Line 8b on Form 1040 and 1040-SR (on tax year 2019 form)
  • Line 7 on Form 1040 (on tax year 2018 form)
  • Line 21 on Form 1040A (on forms for tax years before 2018)
  • Line 4 on Form 1040EZ (on forms for tax years before 2018)
  • Line 11 on Form 1040NR (on tax year 2020 form)

You can find the name of your tax form 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.


 

TurboTax Tip: If you used TurboTax, read this helpful FAQ on where to find last year’s AGI to verify your identity for this year’s tax return.


 

Determining AGI

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 (for agreements prior to 2019)
  • Capital gains
  • Rental income
  • Other earnings subject to income tax

AGI doesn't include your standard or itemized tax deductions, so set those aside to figure into your taxable income later.

Importance of the AGI

In addition to being used to verifying your identity, your AGI impacts many of the tax 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.

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