The IRS is offering an identity protection PIN opt-in program that helps prevent fraudulent use of taxpayers' Social Security numbers on federal returns.

An IRS PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent federal tax returns in your name. It is known only to you and the IRS and valid for one year. You can enter it when prompted by your tax software product or provide it to your trusted tax professional preparing your return. The PIN is available to anyone with a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and can verify their identity.

If you’ve ever tried to file your taxes with the IRS only to have the system reject your return because someone else filed it using your Social Security number and name, you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft. This type of identity theft is very difficult to resolve and can take months or even years to clear up. The IRS has joined forces with software companies, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors, and state tax administrators to fight this fraud and has developed the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) tool.

How to Get an IRS PIN

How to Get an IRS PIN?

The fastest way to get an IP PIN is through the online “Get an IP PIN” tool, which can be used by anyone with internet access. There are two alternative application options for taxpayers who cannot pass the IRS’s online identity authentication process: submitting Form 15227 (Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number) or visiting a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

The program was originally designed for confirmed victims of tax-related identity theft, but it was expanded in 2021 to include taxpayers who want to take a proactive step against tax-related fraud. To participate, taxpayers must validate their identities using the IRS’s Secure Access Digital Identity Initiative and then go through a rigorous process to ensure their identity. Taxpayers who cannot use the online tool and have incomes below $72,000 can apply by completing Form 15227 and mailing or faxing it to the IRS. A representative will call them to validate their identities.

IRS Identity Verification

IRS Identity Verification

Identity theft is a growing problem and the IRS has been ramping up efforts to prevent fraud for years. In 2022, it began sending identity verification letters to some taxpayers who e-file their returns. These letters identify the return as suspicious and ask the taxpayer to verify their identity online. These letters are not rare and don’t mean that the taxpayer did anything wrong.

This new process uses a mobile-friendly digital tool that enables people who receive an IRS 5071C letter, 6331C letter, or 5447C letter to answer questions online and verify their identity. Taxpayers with a confirmed ID theft case should file Form 14030, Identity Theft Affidavit, with the IRS as soon as possible. This will help the agency investigate and resolve the issue quickly.

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