By Liz Belcher, CPA
Senior Manager, Tax Services
If you’re on an extension to file your taxes or you forgot about this before you filed, let us remind you: Request an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN)!
Known only to you and the IRS, this six-digit number is vital in preventing an identity thief from filing a tax return using your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The IP PIN helps the IRS verify your identity and accept your electronic or paper tax return. Generated each year, an IP PIN is valid for one calendar year, and it can be used only on Forms 1040, 1040-PR and 1040-SS. It is also unique to each taxpayer and only for their individual use, meaning spouses or dependents would need to request their own separate number.
Be wary of any phone calls, emails or texts asking for your IP PIN — these are the tricks identity thieves have up their sleeves.
The IP PIN was initially reserved for confirmed victims of identity theft, but now all taxpayers can opt in to the IP PIN Program. And said victims will receive a CP01A Notice with a unique IP PIN each year.
The easiest and fastest way to receive an IP PIN is through the online Get an IP PIN tool, but you must have an IRS.gov account. The IP PIN tool is available from mid-January through mid-November.
Alternatively, you can file an application for an IP PIN if you have the following:
- A valid Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- An adjusted gross income on your last filed return below $73,000 for Individuals or $146,000 for Married Filing Joint
- Access to a telephone for the IRS to call for identity verification
Lastly, you can make an appointment for an in-person meeting at a local Taxpayer Assistance Center. Just be sure to bring two forms of identification.
Opting in to the IP PIN Program is opting in for protection. Don’t pass on this measure of security. You have nothing to lose by requesting a PIN but a whole lot to lose by not doing so.