Identity Protection PIN

If you want to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft, you can opt into the IP PIN program offered by the IRS.  Currently, there are over 5 million taxpayers participating in the program which enables them to be proactive in preventing identity theft.

If you are interested in joining the movement to protect your identity with the IRS, the fastest and easiest way is by using the IP PIN tool on irs.gov. 

So, what is an IP PIN?  It is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to prevent the misuse of Social Security and Individual Identification Numbers on federal income tax returns.  This number is known only to the taxpayer and the IRS and, as long as you can prove your identity, you can apply for an IP PIN.

Use of an IP PIN prevents a return from being filed in your name and is used to verify a taxpayer’s identity by the IRS.  The PIN is valid for one tax year and must be applied for every year.  It can be used when filing a return either on paper or electronically.  For returns for 2021, the online tool will be available on irs.gov on January 10, 2022.

If you have attempted to obtain an IP PIN previously; try again.  The IRS has updated the process and made it easier for taxpayers to be screened in the process and be assigned a number.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should still fill out an ID theft Affidavit – Form 14039.  This will trigger an investigation by the IRS into your case and an IP PIN will be automatically mailed via USPS.  Confirmed identity theft victims cannot opt out of the IP PIN program.

If you are not successful in passing the online authentication process, you can file Form 15227 or make a visit to an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.   Once Form 15227 is filed, an IRS representative would then call to verify identity with a series of questions.  Once the security check has been completed, an IP PIN would be received approximately a month later.  If you visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center, two forms of picture ID are necessary.  To locate a Taxpayer Assistance Center, you can call 844-545-5640. 

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About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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