Should You Request an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS?

 In IRS Problems, Tax Filing

Now that Tax Day has passed, after the initial relief that you may feel in getting your tax return filing accomplished, you may wonder what you should do next. Many of you are familiar with the typical next steps such as setting up estimated tax payments, engaging in a comprehensive tax plan, and resolving to keep cleaner books going forward. However, another step that taxpayers oftentimes overlook is registering for an Identity Protection (IP) PIN.

What is an Identity Protection PIN?

An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit code assigned by the IRS that enables you to protect your identity against other individuals filing original or amended tax returns using your Social Security Number. All individual taxpayers may request an IP PIN from the IRS. An assigned IP PIN is valid for the duration of the year in which the taxpayer requests it. For example, if you request an IP PIN on May 1, 2022, that IP PIN must be entered to electronically file any tax return using your Social Security Number for the remainder of the year 2022.

Most taxpayers do not request an IP PIN from the IRS, but the agency highly recommends that taxpayers enroll in the IP PIN program. The IRS pays out millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds each year, and taxpayers who enroll in the IP PIN program (as early as possible during the year) can significantly reduce their likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft with respect to their tax filings.

How Can I Request an Identity Protection PIN?

A taxpayer must request a new IP PIN each year. An IP PIN can be requested as early as mid-January when the filing season opens. For taxpayers who already have an online account with the IRS (i.e. to request transcripts), the process of requesting an IP PIN takes less than one minute using the IRS online portal, and you will retrieve the six-digit code immediately upon your request. If you do not already have an IRS online account, there will be additional steps required to verify your identity before you are able to request an IP PIN. Depending on whether you are able to effectively complete the IRS online identity verification process, you may receive your IP PIN online or you may be required to obtain your PIN via mail.

What Happens Once I Have my IP PIN?

Once you have obtained your IP PIN, make sure to keep it in a safe place, as you will need this code to file your original return (if you have not yet done so), and also if a situation arises in which you must amend any return that you have previously filed. Your tax preparer will need your IP PIN to e-file your return, so in the years that you request one, be sure to provide this PIN to your tax preparer along with your tax documents. Although it is important to safeguard this PIN to protect your identity, if you happen to lose your IP PIN, it is possible to retrieve it on the IRS website.

If you find that you like the security that the IP PIN provides, be sure to request one each year once the filing season opens, generally in mid-January. There is discussion that the IRS may offer an opt-out program in the future, in which taxpayers may be automatically assigned an IP PIN each year. However, until that day comes, be sure to put a reminder on your calendar (dated early in the year) so that you can request the issuance of your IP PIN for that year.

If you have any questions about establishing your IRS online account, requesting an IP PIN, or whether there are any other actions you should be taking after the tax filing season concludes, feel free to contact me using the form below.

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