Taxpayers can get extra protection with their tax returns by joining the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program provided by IRS.
Anyone who can verify their identity can protect themselves against tax-related identity theft by opting into the IP PIN program. The fastest and easiest way to receive an IP PIN is by using the online tool Get an IP PIN on IRS website. Taxpayers must pass a rigorous authentication process to confirm their real identity before they can receive the IP PIN.
One of the key features of the IRS system involves an IP PIN, which is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on fraudulent federal income tax returns.
An IP PIN is known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. Originally designed for confirmed victims of tax-related identity theft, the IP PIN program was expanded in 2021 to include any taxpayer, nationwide, who wants the additional protection and security of using an IP PIN to file tax returns with the IRS.
An IP PIN helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their federal income tax returns, regardless of whether they are filing electronically or on paper. The online tool Get an IP PIN immediately displays the taxpayer’s IP PIN after they pass the authentication questions. In each subsequent year, any participating taxpayer will then use the tool to obtain a new number.
The authentication process has been refined and improved by IRS, now enabling many taxpayers screened out in the past to have a better chance of passing the authentication process.
Before applying, keep in mind these key points about the IP PIN program:
- For 2022, the Get an IP PIN tool is scheduled to launch on January 10. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get an IP PIN. It is the only option that immediately reveals the IP PIN to the taxpayer.
- No identity theft affidavit is required for taxpayers opting in. This means that anyone who voluntarily applies for an IP PIN doesn’t need to file Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS.
- The IP PIN is valid for one year. This means that each January any participating taxpayer must obtain a newly generated IP PIN.
- Be sure to enter the IP PIN on any return, whether it is filed electronically or on paper. This includes any amended returns or returns for prior years. Doing so will help avoid processing delays or having the return rejected by the IRS.
- Anyone with either a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) who can verify their identity is eligible for the IP PIN opt-in program.
- Any eligible family member can get an IP PIN. This includes the primary taxpayer, the secondary taxpayer or any of their dependents.
- Never reveal an IP PIN to anyone. The only exception is a taxpayer who uses a trusted tax professional to file their return. The IRS will never ask for an IP PIN. Remember to watch out: phone calls, emails and texts requesting an IP PIN are scams.
- Identity theft victims should still fill out an ID theft affidavit. This means that any confirmed victim of tax-related identity theft still needs to file Form 14039 with the IRS if their e-filed tax return was rejected by the agency due to a duplicate SSN filing. The IRS will then investigate their case. Once the fraudulent tax return is removed from their account, the IRS will automatically mail an IP PIN to the confirmed victim at the start of the next calendar year. Because of security risks, confirmed identity theft victims cannot opt out of the IP PIN program.
Options for people who can’t pass the online authentication process
Two options are available for people who cannot pass the IRS online identity authentication process: Filing Form 15227 or Visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). Unlike the online option, both of these options above involve a delay in receiving an IP PIN.
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