So its April 17th and you’re doing your taxes the very last minute. Good news, you just got an email or text from Intuit saying your e-file was REJECTED.

Fudge?

I just experienced this problem over the weekend and the annoying part was that neither TurboTax nor IRS has very clear instruction on this particular situation. I used the AGI method to verify my e-file identity. I have my exact 2010 1040 tax return on the table and I’m reading line 37 correctly, I even double checked if there was a fat finger mistake but still the e-file return was rejected, what gives?

Here’s what TurboTax immediately tells you to do: head into the software, or online version of TurboTax to fix the error, and if you click around and follow the instructions, TurboTax will usually recommend you to request your e-file PIN at the IRS website (takes less than 60 second). The problem is if you’re in my particular situation and follow TurboTax’s instruction to the letter, you will most likely receive this message:

We are unable to provide you with your tax information online.

Wonderful. So you call the automated hotline at 1-866-704-7388 and the robot tells you everything is peachy as you give them your personal information. But still your PIN doesn’t work — or your AGI, while correct, still gets the efile rejected.

Here’s what TurboTax and IRS didn’t give clear instruction on after receiving the error message above:

If you did not file a return in 2010 or you are a first time filer over age 16, enter “0″ (zero) in the Prior Year Adjusted Gross Income field when you electronically sign your tax return or other electronic tax forms.

What they really meant was: if you did not E-FILE in 2010, regardless if you use your PIN or AGI method to verify your identity during e-file, your return will probably get rejected.  The IRS doesn’t have your AGI or E-FILE PIN in their master file database.

So you’ll need to enter “0″ (zero) in the AGI field to sign your return, even though you’re most likely over the age of 16, and you most likely have filed a return before in 2010 (but not e-file).

This method generally works, even though most of the support forums in TurboTax tells you to request a new PIN. But the funny part is requesting a new PIN will result in the error message above: “unable to provide information online”.  I opted to try the “0″ method and it worked within a few hours for me, my return was accepted:

I’m fairly certain I e-filed in 2010 and I have a working PIN, but for whatever reason entering 0 (no decimal, just the number) works. YMMV though as I read through about twenty support threads and it works for some people, but doesn’t work for others.

TurboTax will tell you that you’ll get a notification in 24-48 hours, but base on my rejection and approval history, things usually get checked out within 8 hours or less:

E-File Approval and Rejection History Timeline - faster than 24-48 hours

At this point though, if you haven’t already finish, you really should just file an extension and pay what you owe (if any) – just in case. Last thing you’ll need is the hassle of dealing with penalties from the IRS.

Finally, the last tip of the day is to avoid doing taxes last minute (I personally had a good reason, honest!) – it’ll save you the frustration and potential computer drama. You know how it goes: printers, computers always fails when you need it most.

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