IRS Identity Protection PIN

Go incognito with an IRS IP PIN to protect your tax account.
Use an IRS IP PIN to prevent your Social Security Number from being used on a fraudulent federal income tax return.

The IRS has a program to help taxpayers prevent unauthorized use of their Social Security Number and the filing of fake tax returns. Once enrolled, the taxpayer uses this the Identity Protection PIN, frequently shortened to IP PIN, to make sure no one files a tax return with their information on it without their knowledge. This program adds an additional layer of protection when filing your tax return.

I think this program is a great idea for everyone to consider. Almost everyone has had their data breached in one hack or another. Therefore, I think it’s prudent to assume your data is out there in the dark web, whether you know it is or don’t.

Who’s eligible for an IP PIN?

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to apply for the IP PIN, yet. As of right now, the taxpayers who are eligible fall into two groups:

  • Taxpayers who are confirmed victims of identity theft and have resolved tax issues. These taxpayers are automatically entered into the IP PIN system.
  • Taxpayers who live in one of 19 states and DC are eligible to opt into the program. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

The IRS website says they’re expanding the program nationwide but who knows how long that will take.

How do you get an IP PIN?

First off, if you’re a victim of tax related identity theft, the IRS will automatically enroll you into the program and mail you an IP PIN on an annual basis.

In you’re in one of the 20 locations and you wish to enroll, you can do so on the IRS website. You’ll need to register an account on the IRS website if you haven’t already done so. The link to signup is here:

How do you use your IP PIN?

Right now, the only thing you use it for is when you file your tax return with the IRS. The IP PIN is a six digit code assigned to you by the IRS and you’ll need to enter this code when you file your tax return. If you’re preparing your own tax return, the software should have a space to enter this code. If you’re using a tax professional, just give them the letter the IRS sends to you and they will take care of it for you.

In terms of a pilot program, I think this is a smart way to protect your Social Security Number. Maybe in the future, the government will find a way to increase our security but requiring this IP PIN (or something similar) every time we interact with the government.

Further reading:

For more information, you can review these resources:

IRS Get and Identity Protection PIN website

Don’t Mess with Taxes