FBP - Certified Public Accountants

What is the IRS Identity Protection PIN and do you need one?

Written by Team FBPCPA

May 31, 2023

Identity Protection PIN

The Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a unique six-digit number issued annually by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help protect taxpayers from identity theft. The IP PIN is different from the taxpayer’s Social Security number and is used as an additional layer of security when filing taxes electronically or on paper.

The main reason why you would want an IP PIN is to protect your tax refund and personal information from being stolen by identity thieves. With an IP PIN, anyone attempting to file a tax return using your Social Security number must also provide your six-digit IP PIN to the IRS. This helps prevent fraudulent tax returns from being filed in your name and ensures that your legitimate tax return is processed quickly and efficiently.

The IRS offers the IP PIN program to anyone with a social security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Taxpayers can opt-in to the program and receive an IP PIN each year by visiting the IRS website and completing the online application process.

One important thing to note is that the IP PIN is renewed every year. The IRS changes the IP PINs for all participants each year to prevent anyone from using a previously issued IP PIN to file a fraudulent tax return. Your new IP PIN is available in your IRS online account and a notice will be mailed to you yearly sometime in December or January. This is one of the areas of delay we see during tax filing, clients fail to retrieve their new IP PIN, without which taxes cannot be filed.

If you have been a victim of identity theft and the IRS resolved the issue, you will automatically be enrolled in the IP PIN program and will receive a CP01A notice.

Get an IP PIN Online:

  1. Go to the IRS website.
  2. Create an account or log in if you already have an account with the IRS.
  3. Provide your personal information, including your Social Security number, date of birth, filing status, and mailing address. (You may be able to opt for an in-person or telephone interview if you are not comfortable with supplying sensitive information online. Instructions are available through the link above.)
  4. Verify your identity by answering a few security questions based on information from your credit report.
  5. Once the IRS confirms your identity, you will receive an IP PIN immediately, which you should keep safe and use when filing your tax return.

Please keep in mind that the correct IP PIN needs to be entered on your tax returns, regardless of whether you are filing electronically or using paper. If you have been issued an IP PIN and you use the incorrect number or do not include it when you file, your tax filing will be delayed or rejected until it is corrected.

While the IP PIN program is not foolproof, it does offer an additional layer of protection against tax-related identity theft. Taxpayers who receive an IP PIN should keep it safe and secure and use it whenever they file their taxes. By taking advantage of the IP PIN program, taxpayers can help protect themselves from the devastating consequences of identity theft and ensure that their tax refunds are not stolen by criminals.

If you have questions about the IP PIN program, please contact us.

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