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IRS Introduces Identity Protection PIN for US Taxpayers

The IP PIN program is identended to provide greater security for US Taxpayers, and to prevent identity theft

Published on January 12, 2021

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Beginning mid-January 2021, US taxpayers will be able to enroll in the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) program. The voluntary, opt-in program is designed to protect taxpayers from identity theft.

IP PINs will be available to anyone who has a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and who can verify their identity.

The IP PIN is a 6 digit number which the IRS can use to verify the identity of an individual when they file their tax returns.

Chuck Rettig, the IRS Commissioner, explains that "When you have this special code, it prevents someone else from filing a tax return with your Social Security number. The fastest way to get an Identity Protection PIN is to use our online tool but remember you must pass a rigorous authentication process. We must know that the person asking for the IP PIN is the legitimate taxpayer."

Each IP PIN will be valid for one year, with taxpayers needing to obtain a new PIN each January.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has been calling for additional identity security in recent years, and outlining how the IP PIN program will work, explains that when you’ve obtained your PIN, you should share it with no-one except your trusted tax professional, and “only when you are ready to sign and submit your return.”

TAS also warns taxpayers that the IRS will never ask for an IP PIN, and to be aware of phone calls, e-mails or text messages asking for your PIN.

If you opt-in during 2021, a system will be put in place to opt-out in 2022 if you don’t feel the program is right for you.

You can sign up for an IP PIN using the IRS Get An IP PIN tool, at IRS.gov/ippin. You can also find more detail on the IP PIN on the TAS website, go to: www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/news/get-an-identity-protection-pin-to-protect-yourself-from-tax-related-identity-theft.

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