Several years ago, the IRS instituted a program to help identity theft victims secure their tax returns. Those who qualified for the program received a 6-digit number in an annual letter from the IRS called an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN). Prior to 2021, the program was only available to confirmed identity theft taxpayers. Starting in 2021, all taxpayers may now opt-in to this program if they desire the additional security.
How and Where to Register for an IP PIN with the IRS
If you would like to opt-in to this program, you need to be prepared to pass a rigorous identify verification process. Spouses and dependents can also apply if they can complete the proofing process. To register, each taxpayer must be able to provide the following information and submit it via the IRS’s website:
- Email address
- Social security number/s
- Tax filing status and mailing address
- A financial account linked to your name/s, such as a credit card or mortgage
- A mobile phone linked to your name/s
The more complicated requirements tend to be providing the financial account information and the mobile phone number:
- Financial Account: If the taxpayer has a credit card in their name (American Express cards or debit cards do not qualify), all they need is the last 8 digits to confirm their identify. The system can be finnicky, but most taxpayers are able to complete this portion of the verification.
- Mobile Phone Number: The phone plan must be in the taxpayer’s name. If they are part of a family plan with someone else as the principal on the account, the registration must be finished through the mail, and it takes much longer. It also requires you go download the IRS app, called IRS2Go.
Pros and Cons of the IP PIN Program
The IRS reports that the number of Identity Theft Tax Returns has dropped from nearly 76,000 in 2017 to under 14,000 in 2019, in large part because of programs like this. The IP PIN program is an excellent tool for those who are concerned about their security. However, it does create an additional burden each year, as the taxpayer must not lose the number provided to them and it is a different number every year. If security is a big factor for you, then the benefits likely outweigh the burden. If you have additional questions about this program, please reach out to your TPC Financial Planner or Tax Advisor.
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