As part of ongoing efforts to increase security, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners today reminded taxpayers they can get extra protection against identity theft during the 2024 tax season by joining theIdentity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program.
The IRS IP PIN is a special six-digit number available to anyone who has a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). More than 8.1 million taxpayers are now protecting themselves against tax-related identity theft by participating in the IP PIN program.
“This special code serves as a secret weapon to protect taxpayers against identity thieves filing a bogus tax return,” said IRS Danny Werfel. “The code is only known to the IRS and the taxpayer, so people in this program have an extra layer of security when they file their tax return. An identity thief trying to file a tax return in someone’s name will be stopped cold if they don’t have the code that IP PIN participants have.”
As the end of the year and holiday season approaches, the IRS and its Security Summit partners are highlighting the IP PIN program on the third day of National Tax Security Awareness Week 2023.
During National Tax Security Awareness Week, now in its eighth year, the Security Summit partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community work to raise awareness among taxpayers and tax professionals about the importance of safeguarding information to protect against identity theft. The Security Summit formed in 2015 to combat tax-related identity theft through better public-private sector coordination as well as strengthening internal protections in the tax community and raising public awareness about security threats.
With the holiday shopping season underway and tax season fast approaching, the Security Summit partners today reminded taxpayers to take extra steps to protect their financial and tax information from cybercriminals. Identity theft is a serious crime that can occur when thieves steal taxpayers’ identity through obtaining personal information such as a name, address, Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as well as other personal financial information that they can try to use to file fraudulent tax returns.
An easy, but important step for taxpayers to take to protect their information is by obtaining an IP PIN from the IRS.
The IP PIN helps prevent criminals from filling fraudulent federal income tax returns or stealing refunds using taxpayer’s personal information. IP PINs are unique because they are known only to the taxpayer and the IRS.
The IP PIN program is completely voluntary and available to anyone with an SSN or an ITIN that can successfully verify their identity. More than 8.1 million taxpayers are now shielding themselves against tax-related identity theft by joining the IP PIN opt-in program.
The quickest and easiest way to acquire an IP PIN is through the Get my IP PIN online tool, which is available from mid-January through mid-November.
The IP PIN process
Here’s how the IP PIN process works:
- Taxpayers wanting to get an IP PIN should go to IRS.gov/ippin.
- Once an individual creates an account and completes the prompted steps the IP PIN will be revealed to them.
- Taxpayers should keep in mind that the IP PIN is only valid for one calendar year. Participating taxpayers must acquire a newly generated IP PIN each January.
The IRS encourages any IP PIN applicant previously rejected during the identity authentication process to try applying again as the process continues to be refined.
The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee to the IRS, has urged taxpayers to use the IP PIN to protect their sensitive tax information. ETAAC works closely with the Security Summit and includes members from participating states and members of the tax community.
“The IP PIN is the number one security tool currently available to taxpayers from the IRS,” the independent advisory group said in its 2022 annual report to Congress. “This tool is the key to making it more difficult for criminals to file false tax returns in the name of the taxpayer. In our view, the benefits of increased IP PIN use are many.”
Other reminders for taxpayers
There are important things for taxpayers to remember to help them avoid fraud and tax-related identity theft.
Taxpayers should remember:
- The IRS will never email, text or call to request an IP PIN.
- Taxpayers should not reveal their IP PIN to anyone but their trusted tax software provider or tax preparer.
- Neither a tax software provider nor a tax preparer should ask for an IP PIN except to complete a tax return. Individuals should protect their IP PIN from theft, especially scams.
- Taxpayers should enter their IP PIN on any return, whether it is filed electronically or on paper. This includes any amended returns or returns for prior years. Doing so will help avoid processing delays or having the return rejected by the IRS.
Authentication options for people
Those who cannot pass the IRS online identity authentication process have two options:
- File Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN).
- Visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC).
For security reasons, these options could result in a delayed IP PIN delivery as opposed to the online option at IRS.gov/ippin.
For more details and to learn more about this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week’s efforts, visit National Tax Security Awareness Week 2023.