If you are concerned about identity theft, you might be interested in an IRS program that protects your identity when you file your tax return.
The IRS Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number that prevents someone from filing a paper or an electronic tax return using your identification (Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number -- ITIN).
As of December 2022, more than 6.6 million taxpayers were taking part in the IP PIN program, according to the IRS (tinyurl.com/d2eptjwf).
To get an IP PIN, you have three choices. You can visit a local IRS office; mail IRS Form 15227 to the IRS (tinyurl.com/yc2jcne7); or apply online using a tool, which is the fastest method if you have an IRS account and can verify your identity using an IRS online tool.
In Person: You can schedule an appointment at a local Taxpayer Assistance Center (see tinyurl.com/bdctadx6). Be sure to confirm the documents you need to present at the appointment to verify your identity. The IRS website mentions bringing a government-issued picture ID document (such as your driver's license) and other identification. (I would also suggest taking a copy of your last tax return with you.)
After the IRS verifies your identity, expect to receive your IP PIN in the mail within three weeks, according to the IRS.
Paper: IRS Form 15227 is the form to use to request an IP PIN by paper. This method is limited to taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is reported as less than $73,000 for individuals ($146,000 for married filing jointly) for the prior tax year. After you fill out and file the form, the IRS will call you. But, before talking to the IRS caller, you'll want to verify that the caller is indeed an IRS employee. You can do that by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-908-4490. This information is provided in the instructions to Form 15227 (tinyurl.com/yc2jcne7). The form and instructions are also available in Spanish.
Online: To do an online filing, you'll use the Get an IP PIN tool at irs.gov/getanippin. You'll sign in using an ID.me or an IRS username account. Lacking one of those, you'll need to create an ID.me account.
The IP PIN site requires you to provide a selfie (or to do a video chat with an agent) and to consent to the collection of "biometric data" and "sensitive personal information." (You'll have to judge the pros and cons of consenting.)
When you prepare your return, if you are filing a paper form, you'll enter the IP PIN on your tax return in the Sign Here section in the box for the IP PIN (see Form 1040 at tinyurl.com/ywnz39n9). If you are e-filing your tax return, the tax software or the tax practitioner you are using will tell you where to enter the IP PIN. Note that each person who has an IP PIN and is claimed on a tax return needs to enter his or her IP PIN on the return.
If you use a tax professional to do your tax return, you'll need to provide the IP PIN to the preparer, but don't disclose it to anyone else.
In any case, be sure to double-check the IP PIN before sending in your tax return. If you entered it incorrectly, your online filing will be rejected. If you send in a paper tax return, you will encounter delays in processing.
If you've been a victim of identity theft, or if an e-filed tax return is rejected because of a duplicate filing that used your Social Security or ITIN number, file IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit (tinyurl.com/48bsjysv).
For those who have been confirmed victims of tax-related identity theft, after the tax account issues have been resolved, the IRS will mail the ID theft victims a CP01A Notice each year, which will contain a new IP PIN (tinyurl.com/hdx2s7vn).
What if you lose your IP PIN? You'll need to follow the instructions at tinyurl.com/4fjf5nb7 or call the IRS at 800-908-4490.
The IRS cautions that if you do lose your IP PIN, you should not file Form 15227 to apply for a new one -- that form is for those who are joining the program for the first time.
To review the FAQs about the IP PIN, go to tinyurl.com/3yamktkz. Also see tinyurl.com/53dsmk4a.
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