About a decade ago the IRS created an Identity Protection PIN Program. This program gave people with confirmed identity fraud protection against further fraud happening. An IP PIN is a personalized, 6-digit numerical code for taxes; and is known only to taxpayers and the IRS. Using this PIN protects against fraudulent tax returns being filed.
The great news is that this program has now opened for anyone to opt-in. Anyone will be able to volunteer to get an IP PIN as an extra layer of protection against tax fraud. However, if you file a return without your PIN it will get rejected and be open to more issues with the IRS.
Here are some important things to know about the Opt-In IP PIN Program:
- This program is voluntary.
- You must verify your identity.
- Your spouse and dependents are also eligible for an IP PIN as long as they also verify their identity.
- Your IP PIN will only be valid for one calendar year.
- Each filing season you are required to get a new IP PIN number.
- Between November and January the online IP PIN tool is not available.
- If you want to avoid rejection and delays, your IP PIN number must be correct when you file electronically or on paper.
- Never share this number with anyone other than a tax provider whom you trust.
- Be careful of scams. The IRS will not ask for your IP PIN number by calling, texting, or emailing.
- Once you opt-in, there is not an opt-out option at the moment. The IRS may have that option available in the future.
How to Get an IP PIN Number
If you are a taxpayer and interested in obtaining an IP PIN number for the 2021 tax season, start by going to the site IRS.gov/IPPIN and click the Get IP PIN tool. In order to go through this process you will need to rigorously verify your identity using a secure authentication process if you do not already have an account with the IRS. You can go to IRS.gov/SecureAccess to find out what you will need to apply. There is no need to fill out form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit to obtain a PIN.
Once you verify your identity, you will immediately be given your 2021 IP PIN number. From there, you are in the program and must enter it when prompted for online filing. If filing by hand you must enter it near the signature line.
The IRS urges taxpayers to apply for their IP PIN online. However, if you do not have a way to verify your identity online, there are other options to apply for the program. If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less and you are not able to apply online, then you may fill out Form 15227 and either Fax or Email it to the IRS directly. Once you have done this, a customer service person will call you to verify your identity over the phone. In order to do this you will need to have the previous year’s tax return on hand.
Once your identity is verified, the IRS will mail you your IP PIN number for the following tax season. Once you are in the program, the IRS will mail the taxpayer their IP PIN number every following year.
Lastly, if you are someone who cannot verify their identity via online or phone, and are not eligible to file FORM 15227, then you can make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center to verify your identity in person and apply. If you opt for this method, you are required to bring one government-issued picture ID and at least one other form of identification. Once you complete the in-person process the IRS will mail you your IP PIN within a few weeks. Again, the IP PIN numbers will be mailed to you every following year after you are in the program.
Confirmed Identity Theft Victims
If you are a taxpayer who knows or suspects that you have been a victim of identity fraud, then you will receive an IP PIN automatically in the mail once your case has been confirmed and resolved. If you are a victim of identity theft and have been receiving IP PIn numbers in the mail, there will be no change in the process.