Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number.
This special number is used to help verify your identity when you, or your accountant, files your electronic or paper tax return, and it should only be known to you, the IRS and your accountant.
Who is Eligible for an IP PIN?
Starting January of 2021, anyone with a valid Social Security number is eligible for an IP PIN. This includes spouses and dependents. It is a great proactive step to take to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.
The process to get an IP PIN online requires you to pass a rigorous identity verification process. If you cannot successfully verify your identity online, there are options to help you. You can:
If you are a confirmed victim of identity theft and the IRS has resolved your tax account issues, they will mail you a CP01A Notice which will includes your IP PIN for the year. If for some reason you lost or did not receive the Notice, you may use the GET AN IP PIN option (see below).
How do you Get an IP PIN?
First, you need to have an account with the IRS. If you do not have an account, you can visit IRS.gov and register to validate your identity. You can read about their secure access identity authentication process by visiting their website: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/secure-access-how-to-register-for-certain-online-self-help-tools.
Next, visit the IRS website link: Retrieve Your Identity Protection PIN. The site shares a number of different means to get an IP PIN
It is important to remember that an IP PIN is valid for only one calendar year. You can get a new PIN for each subsequent year, but just be aware that the site is generally unavailable from mid-November through mid-January.
When do you use your IP PIN?
Your IP Pin is used when either you or your accountant is ready to submit your tax return using tax software or a prepared paper return. It must be entered correctly or your return will be rejected which will cause delays. It is important to note that the IRS will NEVER ask for your IP PIN. If someone claiming to be from the IRS asks for it (whether by phone, email or text), it’s a scam – do NOT give it to them. If you are unsure, call your accountant or the IRS directly.
Using your protected IP PIN is truly one of the safest ways to protect your identity when filing your tax return. We highly recommend opting in to this program.
Note: If you’ve already registered for an IP PIN, or have one of the following accounts, you should log in with the same username and password:
- Get Transcript
- Online Account
- Online Payment Agreement
This article in an update to IRS Expands Opt-In Identity Protection PIN Program Beginning January 2021.