The IRS Identity Protection PIN is available for everyone

The new expanded IRS program prevents identity thieves from filing a fraudulent tax return by using your personal information.

Unfortunately, a growing number of people have discovered that an income tax return has already been filed using their social security number.

The IRS created the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) nearly a decade ago but only provided it to people who were victims of identity theft. However, starting in 2021, anyone may obtain a PIN.

The IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the you and the IRS.

“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.”

The IP PIN Opt-In Program is a voluntary program. You must pass a rigorous identity verification process to ensure that it is you that is applying instead of an identity thief.

The Internal Revenue Service today expanded the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can verify their identities.

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

An IP PIN is only valid for one 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. There is currently no opt-out option, but the IRS is working on one for 2022.

The IRS will never call you or request your IP PIN so don’t share it with anyone but your tax professional.

You can get an IP PIN by going to IRS.gov/IPPIN and using the Get an IP PIN tool. Once you have authenticated your identity, your 2021 IP PIN will be provided immediately.

If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less, you can get an IP PIN by completing Form 15227 and mailing or faxing it the IRS.

Current tax-related identity theft victims who have been receiving an IP PIN through the mail will experience no change.

If you attempt to efile your return and it’s rejected due your social security number being used to file a fraudulent return, you will be required to mail your tax return. This will result in a delay of your refund.

The IRS is encouraging all taxpayers to get an IP PIN to help prevent fraudulent tax returns.

David Zubler is a tax accountant and Enrolled Agent in East Tennessee, providing tax strategies and representing clients before the IRS and has over 25 years of tax experience. He is the author of four tax books and is the founder and president of Your Tax Care. The company provides business and tax education to the public at its website, YourTaxCare.com. David can be reached at (865) 363-3019 or contacted by email at david@yourtaxcare.com.