All Taxpayers Can Now Use Identity Protection PINs


New this tax season, the Internal Revenue Service has expanded the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can verify their identities. (All information in this post is taken from the IRS's January 12, 2021 newsletter.)


An Identity Protection PIN (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 taxpayer’s personally identifiable information.


“This is a way to, in essence, lock your tax account, and the IP PIN serves as the key to opening that account,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Electronic returns that do not contain the correct IP PIN will be rejected, and paper returns will go through additional scrutiny for fraud.”


Here are a few key things to know about the IP PIN Opt-In program:

  • This is a voluntary program.

  • You must pass a rigorous identity verification process.

  • Spouses and dependents are eligible for an IP PIN if they can verify their identities.

  • An IP PIN is valid for a calendar year.

  • You must obtain a new IP PIN each filing season.

  • The online IP PIN tool is offline between November and mid-January each year.

  • Correct IP PINs must be entered on electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections and delays.

  • Never share your IP PIN with anyone but your trusted tax provider. The IRS will never call, text or email requesting your IP PIN.

Taxpayers who want an IP PIN for 2021 should first go to IRS.gov/IPPIN and use the Get an IP PIN tool to verify their identities. If a taxpayer is ineligible to use the online tool, there are phone, paper, and in-person options. Once in the program, the IP PIN must be used when prompted by electronic tax returns or entered by hand near the signature line on paper tax returns.


Current tax-related identity theft victims who have been receiving IP PINs via mail will experience no change.


See IRS.gov/IPPIN for additional details.


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