The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2020 (taxes filed in 2021).
AGI is a tax term that stands for adjusted gross income. Your adjusted gross income is used as the basis for lots of things, like calculating your tax bill when you file your income tax return. It also decides how much you can claim for certain tax credits and deductions. For example, you can deduct up to 10% of your AGI for unreimbursed medical expenses and up to 60% of your AGI for charitable donations.
In some cases, your AGI could even be used to determine your eligibility for benefits issued from the U.S. government.
Where do I find my last year’s AGI?
For tax year 2020, your AGI is calculated on page 1, line 11 of your Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Your AGI for tax year 2019 (the return you filed in 2020) is on Line 8b.
Simply look at the printed copy of last year’s return to find your adjusted gross income. If you filed with TaxSlayer, you can also log into My Account to view this info on your prior year return.
When you return to TaxSlayer to file your tax return each year, your AGI is pulled forward and entered into your current tax form.
What is my prior year AGI if I’ve never filed my taxes before?
If you are over age 16 and filing your first return, enter zero for your AGI.
How can I find my AGI if I don’t have my prior year return?
If you do not have last year’s tax return, you can get a copy of your transcript from the IRS. Start by visiting their site here. From there, you have two options:
- Use the Get Transcript Online tool to view your AGI.
- Use Get Transcript by Mail, or call 800-908-9946 to request a Return Transcript. Allow 5 to 10 days for delivery.
If you didn’t file your taxes last year and you need to do so, use TaxSlayer to complete a prior year return. The information you provide will be entered into the forms, and the calculations will be done for you. You will simply need to print and mail your return once it is finished. Prior year returns cannot be filed electronically.
How do I calculate my AGI?
When you file with TaxSlayer, the calculation is done for you. This is one of the major benefits of filing your taxes online.
If you are filing your return on paper, you will calculate your AGI right on Form 1040.
To figure out what your AGI is, you’ll want to find your gross income first. That’s anything you earned for the year, including wages, dividends, capital gains, retirement distributions, and so on. These amounts are added together on Form 1040.
Once you’ve added up all these and found your total, you will subtract any “adjustment to income” amounts that you have. These include:
- educator expenses
- health savings account deductions
- unreimbursed moving expenses for military service members
- a portion of the self-employment tax
- self-employed health insurance
- penalties for early withdrawals from savings
- alimony paid for pre-2019 divorces
- student loan interest
- IRA contributions
What is an example of AGI?
Your AGI should almost always be lower than your gross income. It is never more than your gross income. To find your AGI, you will add up your income and subtract your adjustments to income. Here is an example:
Liane is an elementary school teacher. She works weekends as a barista. Her base salary from the school is $32,000 per year, and she gets $10,000 from her second job. Her gross income for the year is $42,000. $32,000 + $10,000 = $42,000 gross income
Liane also has student loans, and the interest she paid this year equals $1,320. Because she works as a teacher, she qualifies for the educator expense deduction worth $250. She can write off a total of $1,570 for adjustments to income.
Gross income – Adjustments to income = Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
$42,000 – $1,570 = $40,430
Liane’s AGI is $40,430.
When you file your taxes with TaxSlayer, calculations like this one are done for you. Simply enter your income and expense information for the year and let the software do the work. Plus, you’ll never lose track of important data – like your AGI – because it’s all stored securely in your online account. File your taxes online with TaxSlayer. Start free today.