Article

All Taxpayers Are Now Eligible for Identity Protection PINs

March 1, 2021

The IRS recently expanded the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who have a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number and can verify their identities.

What is an IP PIN?

An IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and to the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayers’ personally identifiable information. This is similar to multifactor authentication required by many financial and retail sites in order to access your account.  An IP PIN is used only on Forms 1040, 1040-PR, and 1040-SS.

Previously, IP PINs were only available to individuals who had experienced identity theft, or who lived in a few particular states with high incidences of identity theft. Now the IP PIN program is available to all taxpayers.

If a taxpayer has been assigned an IP PIN, they must use it to confirm their identity on any income tax return filed under their Social Security number during the calendar year. This includes current returns as well as any delinquent or amended returns. A new IP PIN will be generated for each year.

How Do You Get an IP PIN?

Taxpayers who want an IP PIN for 2021 should go to IRS.gov/IPPIN and use the Get an IP PIN tool. This online process will require taxpayers to verify their identities using the Secure Access authentication process if they do not already have an IRS account. There is no need to file a Form 14039, an Identity Theft Affidavit, to opt into the program. Taxpayers who cannot verify their identities online do have options.

The Get an IP PIN tool is only available to taxpayers to use themselves. Tax professionals cannot complete the IP PIN application on behalf of a taxpayer or client.

Once taxpayers have authenticated their identities, their 2021 IP PIN immediately will be revealed to them. Taxpayers must save this number to share with their tax return preparers in order to have their returns filed. Once in the program, this PIN must be used when prompted by electronic tax returns or entered by hand near the signature line on paper tax returns. An IP PIN received online must be used for e-filing a 2020 tax return, if not already filed.

The IP PIN is valid for one calendar year. Taxpayers assigned an IP PIN must obtain a new IP PIN each filing season, usually in December or January. There currently is no opt-out option for taxpayers to voluntarily withdraw from the IP PIN program once enrolled. However, the IRS is working on an opt-out option for 2022.

All taxpayers who would like add this layer of identity theft protection are encouraged to use the online IP PIN tool to obtain their IP PIN.

What If I Was a Victim of Identify Theft?

Taxpayers who are confirmed identity theft victims or who have filed an identity theft affidavit because of suspected stolen identity refund fraud will automatically receive an IP PIN via mail once their cases are resolved. Current tax-related identity theft victims who have been receiving IP PINs via mail will experience no change.

The IRS has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions to address multiple issues related to obtaining, using, and regenerating IP PINs.

For any questions related to obtaining or using an IP PIN, contact your Cherry Bekaert advisor.