The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is pleased to share the news that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has now opened up enrollment in the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) program to anyone who has a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and is able to verify his or her identity. TAS has long advocated for this change. Beginning in 2004 and through 2019, the National Taxpayer Advocate has made 46 recommendations to the IRS in the Annual Reports to Congress on improving IDT victim assistance. The IRS has adopted over half of these recommendations over this timeframe. TAS continues to advocate for even more improvement to assist IDT victims; see our 2019 Report to Congress for more information.
Starting in mid-January 2021, you may voluntarily opt into the IP PIN program as a proactive way to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.
What is an IP PIN and why you should consider getting one?
An IP PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your SSN or ITIN. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS and helps verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return.
The IP PIN is valid for one year. Each January, a newly generated IP PIN must be obtained.
Any primary taxpayer (listed first on the return), secondary taxpayer (listed second on the return), or dependent may obtain an IP PIN if they can pass the identity proofing requirements.
How do I get an IP PIN?
If you’re volunteering for the IP PIN Opt-In Program you should use the online Get An IP PIN tool which will be available mid-January.
If you don’t already have an account on IRS.gov, you must register to validate your identity. Before you register, read about the secure access identity authentication process.
If you’re volunteering for the IP PIN Opt-In program and you can’t successfully validate your identity through the Get an IP PIN tool, there are alternatives. Please note: using an alternative method will delay your IP PIN. One alternative to using the online tool is filing Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (available mid-January 2021) if your income is $72,000 or less. To apply this way, you must have:
- A valid SSN or ITIN;
- An adjusted gross income of $72,000 or less; and
- Access to a telephone.
IRS will use the telephone number provided on the Form 15227 to call you, validate your identity, and assign you an IP PIN for the next filing season. For security reasons, the IP PIN cannot be used for the current filing season. You will receive your IP PIN via the U.S. Postal Service the following year and in the future.
For other application options, see IRS’s Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) page.
How does the IP PIN process work?
Enter the six-digit IP PIN when prompted by your tax software product, provide it to your trusted tax professional preparing your tax return, or enter it on your paper tax return.
Be aware, correct IP PINs must be entered on electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections and delays. An incorrect or missing IP PIN will result in the rejection of your e-filed return or a delay of your paper return until it can be verified.
Don’t reveal your IP PIN
Your IP PIN should be known only to your tax professional and only when you are ready to sign and submit your return. Be aware that the IRS will never ask for your IP PIN. Phone calls, emails, or texts asking for your IP PIN are scams.
Want to opt-out of the program later?
The IRS plans to offer an opt out feature to the IP PIN program in 2022 if taxpayers find it is not right for them.
For more information about the program and other alternative application options, see IRS’s Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) page and FAQs about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN).
For more information about Identity Theft, visit IRS’s Identity Theft Central site and our Identity Theft Get Help page.