The Return of the IRS's Get An Identity Protection PIN Online Tool

The Return of the IRS's Get An Identity Protection PIN Online Tool

The IRS's Identity Protection PIN service, or IP PIN service, involves the annual issuance of a unique six-digit PIN by mail to certain taxpayers. Once this IP PIN is issued to a taxpayer, the IRS will reject any attempted filings of his or her tax return that do not include the correct PIN on the return. As a result, the IP PIN service can be a great way for identity theft victims or simply taxpayers concerned about potential identity theft to further safeguard their tax information against abuse by identity thieves. Moreover, the IRS's Get an IP PIN online portal allows a taxpayer who has been issued an IP PIN to recover it if the IP PIN has been lost and even allows certain taxpayers to voluntarily sign up for the IP PIN program.

In early March 2016, though, the IRS suspended the online Get an IP PIN portal due to its own security concerns. However, the IRS realized the value of this portal and thus worked for many months to make it more secure. The result was a re-opening of the online program this week with stricter requirements for proof of identity and thus successful recovery or assignment of an IP PIN.

As the Get an IP PIN page now lays out, a taxpayer looking to recover a lost IP PIN or to receive an IP PIN for the first time will need the following information and resources to help prove their identity in order to get that IP PIN:

  • His or her Social Security number, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from latest tax return,
  • Access to his or her email account,
  • His or her credit card number or account number from an auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or home equity line of credit, and
  • A mobile phone with his or her name on the account.

In addition to these information and resource requirements, it's important to keep the IRS's rules for who is required or allowed to receive an IP PIN in mind:

You must get an IP PIN to file your current or prior year returns in 2016 if:

  • You received a CP01A Notice with your new IP PIN and you lost it, or
  • You had an IP PIN in a prior tax year and you didn’t receive a new one this year, or
  • Your e-filed return rejected because your IP PIN was missing or incorrect

You may choose to get an IP PIN if:

  • You received an IRS letter inviting you to 'opt-in' to get an IP PIN, or
  • You filed your federal tax return last year with an address in Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia.

As a result, if you've been issued an IP PIN for the 2015 tax year, you haven't yet filed your 2015 tax return, and you've lost that IP PIN, you can now recover it using this tool. Moreover, if you have received an opt-in letter from the IRS or if you simply file tax returns with an address in Georgia, Florida, or the District of Columbia and you'd like to sign up for an IP PIN, you can do so using the same tool.

However, it's important to keep in mind that once you sign up for the IP PIN program, you can never opt out - the IRS will mail you a new IP PIN annually and you must report it on your return each year in order for them to successfully process that return.

If you have questions about how identity theft or potential identity theft would affect your specific tax situation, you should contact an Atlanta tax accountant.

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