-Content provided by the CPA Firm of David M Spitzberg
The IRS is expanding a pilot program that uses Identity Protection Personal Information Numbers (IP PINs) to provide an extra layer of security for all taxpayers. Here is what you need to know.
IP PIN program details
The IRS’s IP PIN program is an additional layer of security to ensure your tax identity and withholdings are not stolen. When you register in the program, the IRS will mail you a six-digit numeric IP PIN. You must enter this number on your tax return or the return will be rejected. It is a one-time use IP PIN. In other words, you will receive a new number every year.
So why get an IP PIN?
The IRS uses the IP PIN to better verify your identity. It can prevent clever hackers from using your Social Security number to file fraudulent returns or access returns you’ve already filed.
Keep in mind that if you choose to get an IP PIN, you’ll need to use an IP PIN for all future filings. While the IRS is planning to add the ability to opt out of the program, it is not yet available. So once you are in the program, you must stay in it. If need be, you can still paper file your tax return if you lose your IP PIN.
Getting your IP PIN
You can use special IRS tools to obtain an IP PIN and verify your identity through a two-factor authentication process. Go to the Get an IP PIN page on the IRS website to get started.
To get the IP PIN, you will be asked to register for an online account with the IRS. The process to open the account requires an independent ID verification prior to establishing the account. Once approved, you can then register for the program.
A new IP PIN is generated for every filing season. It may be retrieved mid-January by logging into your account.
If you have experienced ID theft, the IRS automatically puts you into this program. So the IRS will continue to issue new IP PINs to taxpayers who have already been victimized by tax-related identity theft.
Remember, if you are in the program, you must protect this number. Do not tell it to anyone other than those who need the information to file a tax return. Also know that the IRS will never ask you for this number, so do not give it out.