Expanded Identity Protection PIN Program Now Open for Enrollment
2020 brought a heavy increase in various scammers and IRS identity theft continues to grow along with that. The IRS implemented an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) program in the past for those who had experienced identity theft. The IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to taxpayers to help prevent fraudulent tax return filings using their social security numbers. IP PINs are assigned to taxpayers only after they have successfully passed an authentication process to verify their identity with the IRS. Taxpayers then include their assigned IP PIN on their tax return to help ensure tax returns fraudulently filed using their social security number are not processed. IP PINs are valid for one year and a new PIN must be obtained each year.
New voluntary opt-in
Starting this month, the IRS is now allowing taxpayers to voluntarily opt-in to the IP PIN program. Previously, only confirmed identity theft victims were eligible to participate. Taxpayers that voluntarily opt-in will need to pass an identity verification process to receive their IP PIN. This is a quick and easy process which can be done online. Previous identity theft victims already enrolled in the program will continue to receive their IP PIN by mail on a CP01A notice as before.
Obtaining an IP PIN
Enrollment in the IP PIN program can be done online through the IRS.gov website and is an easy process if a IRS.gov account has already been created. From the IP PIN information page, interested taxpayers should select “Get an IP PIN.” Taxpayers will then be directed to log-in or create an IRS.gov account. If an account had not already been created, to set up an IRS.gov account taxpayers will need:
- An email address
- Social security or tax identification number
- Their tax filing status, birth date and mailing address
- One financial account registered in their name (credit card, student loan, mortgage, HELOC, or auto loan)
- Mobile phone registered in their name (IRS.gov will text a one-time security code at each log-in)
- A copy of their last income tax return for reference
Once their IRS.gov account is set up, taxpayers will be prompted to log-in and re-directed to the IP PIN request feature.
As an alternative, taxpayers with income less than $72,000 can use form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. The IRS will contact these taxpayers by phone to verify their identity. This will not enroll them for the current filing season, but they will receive an IP PIN by mail the following year and going forward.
Taxpayers may also request an in-person authentication by making an appointment with a Taxpayer Assistance Center. Taxpayers need to bring a photo ID and secondary form of identification to the meeting. If approved, their IP PIN will be assigned by mail in three weeks.
Using an IP PIN
Once a taxpayer is assigned an IP PIN, they must include it on their tax return prior to filing. Returns e-filed with missing or incorrect IP PINs will not be accepted. Paper returns with missing or incorrect IP PINs will be subject to additional verification which may delay any refunds from being issued. Spouses and dependents who can verify their identity may also request an IP PIN. Taxpayers should make sure to include all applicable IP PINs on their return or provide these IP PINs to their professional tax preparer who will file their return.
Protecting an IP PIN
The IRS will not ask for a taxpayer’s IP PIN. Call, texts, or emails claiming to be the IRS asking for an IP PIN are not legitimate. Taxpayers should not provide their IP PIN to anyone except their chosen tax professional.
If the IP PIN is lost, taxpayers can use the “Get an IP PIN” tool to retrieve a lost or misplaced IP PIN. They may also call the IRS at 800-908-4490.
We here at Chapman, Hext are available to assist anyone with regard to their IP PIN so if you have any questions regarding the IP PIN program or otherwise need assistance preparing for the upcoming tax filing season please do not hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable team members.