IRS Issues FAQs on Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers

On its website, the IRS has issued a series of FAQs concerning Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PINs).

Background. An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number (SSN) on fraudulent federal income tax returns. An IP PIN helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their electronic or paper tax return. When a taxpayer has an IP PIN, it prevents someone else from filing a tax return with the taxpayer’s SSN. (IRS website: Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN))

IP Details. The IRS has issued a series of FAQs detailing the use of IP PINs.

Q1: What’s an IP PIN?

A1: The IRS IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. A new IP PIN will be generated each year.

If we assigned you an IP PIN, you must use it to confirm your identity on any return filed during the current calendar year. This includes current year returns as well as any delinquent tax returns.

An IP PIN is used only on Forms 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return), 1040PR (Planilla para la Declaración de la Contribución Federal sobre el Trabajo por Cuenta Propia (Incluyendo el Crédito Tributario Adicional por Hijos para Residentes Bona Fide de Puerto Rico)), and 1040SS (U.S. Self-Employment Tax Return (Including the Additional Child Tax Credit for Bona Fide Residents of Puerto Rico)).

Q2: Who’s eligible for an IRS IP PIN?

A2: You’re eligible for an IP PIN if:

• The IRS sent you a CP01A Notice (“We assigned you an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number”) containing your IP PIN; or

• You filed your federal tax return last year as a resident of 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, Washington; or

• You received an IRS letter inviting you to ‘opt-in’ to get an IP PIN.

Q3: What happens if I have an IP PIN and fail to use it correctly on my return?

A3: The IP PIN acts as an authentication number to validate the correct owner of the Social Security number(s) listed on your tax return.

If you filed your return electronically and an IP PIN isn’t entered correctly, we’ll reject the return and you’ll need to enter the correct IP PIN to e- File it again. If you lost the IP PIN or didn’t receive one in the mail, visit Retrieve Your IP PIN.

If you filed your return on paper, you have an IP PIN, you’re the primary and/or secondary taxpayer, and you fail to enter your IP PIN correctly, your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection, but it will delay any refund you may be due.

The IRS notes that the IP PIN(s) of dependents aren’t entered on your paper tax returns.

Q4: I lost my IP PIN or I didn’t receive a new one in the mail. How do I get another one?

A4: If we issued you an IP PIN and you lost it or you didn’t receive a new one in the mail, you’ll need to obtain your IP PIN before you can e-file your return. You can get your current IP PIN by using the Get an IP PIN application.

If you previously created an account, go to Get an IP PIN and log in to your account with your username and password. You may be required to verify your identity again due to our increased account security. Follow the prompts to get your current IP PIN.

If you’re unable to retrieve your IP PIN online, you may call us at 800-908-4490 for specialized assistance, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time), to have your IP PIN reissued to you. An assistor will verify your identity and mail your IP PIN to your address of record within 21 days.

Q5: I’m a victim of identity theft. Can I get an IP PIN?

A5: Not necessarily. You’ll get an IP PIN if you meet one of the following criteria: you received an IP PIN last year, or you received a CP01A notice, or you received an IRS letter or notice inviting you to opt-in to get an IP PIN.

Q6: We’re married and filing a joint return. How do we use/enter the IP PIN if ‘one’ or ‘both’ of us have one?

A6: Each taxpayer who has an IP PIN must enter it on their tax return.

Q7: My e-filed return was rejected and the reject code said I need an IP PIN. What do I do?

A7: In this situation, at least one SSN on your return has an IP PIN requirement and you’ll need to include the IP PIN on your tax return.

If you, your spouse (if married filing jointly), or dependent had an IP PIN assigned prior to the filing season, it needs to be included on your return.

If you don’t know the IP PIN necessary to file, check the return reject code to see whether the IP PIN requirement belongs to you, your spouse, or your dependent (as applicable). You’ll need to retrieve that IP PIN prior to resubmitting your e-File return.

Q8: I reported to IRS that I was the victim of identity theft but never received an IP PIN. Why didn’t I receive one?

A8: Your identity theft case may not have been resolved prior to our issuance of new IP PINs in early January or you moved prior to the end of the year and didn’t notify us.

If we assigned you an IP PIN, you’ll need to Retrieve Your IP PIN to ‘e-file’ your tax return this year. You’ll know we assigned you an IP PIN if your e-filed return is rejected because it was missing an IP PIN.

Q9: Where is the IP PIN on my CP01A Notice?

A9: It’s located on page one of the CP01A notice at the top of the first column.

Q10: Where do I enter the IP PIN(s) on my tax return?

A10: This is determined by the method you use to file, electronic or paper.

If you filed electronically, then your tax software or practitioner will tell you where to enter the IP PIN. If you can’t find where to enter your IP PIN, search within your software for Identity Protection PIN or IP PIN or contact the software provider’s help desk.

Each taxpayer claimed on a tax return who receives an IP PIN must have their IP PIN(s) entered on the tax return. This includes the IP PIN of any dependent(s) included in the tax return, if applicable.

If you claim a dependent who receives an IP PIN, you must enter it on the ‘Form 1040 series’ as well as ‘Form 2441’ and ‘Schedule Earned Income Tax Credit’. For more information, please see Question 17 below.

If you filed a paper return, then both the primary taxpayer and secondary taxpayer needs to enter their IP PIN.

Enter your IP PIN(s) as applicable in the boxes marked “Identity Protection PIN” in signature area of the return.

Q11: Do I have to use the IP PIN I received this year if filing prior year returns this year?

A11: Yes. You must use this IP PIN to confirm your identity on your current tax return and any prior year returns filed during the calendar year.

Q12: Why did I receive an IP PIN?

A12: Our records show you were previously the victim of identity theft; or you were identified by the IRS as a possible victim of tax-related identity theft. We use this IP PIN to authenticate your identity when you file.

Q13: I received an IP PIN for a deceased person. What do I do with it?

A13: If filing a return for the decedent enter the IP PIN as appropriate.

Q14: Do I have to keep this IP PIN and use it again next year?

A14: No. A new IP PIN will be generated each year.

Q15: When does the IRS send IP PIN notices to taxpayers?

A15: We send the CP01A notice in early January to taxpayers eligible to receive an IP PIN.

Q16: Should I give my IP PIN to anyone?

A16: You’re encouraged to keep your IP PIN in a safe location until it’s time to prepare your tax return. If you choose to hire a tax preparer or take advantage of a volunteer tax preparation service to prepare your tax return, you’ll need to provide your IP PIN so the preparer can include it on your return. When calling the IRS or visiting an IRS office, your IP PIN isn’t accepted as proof of your identity.

Q17: Do I include my dependent’s IRS issued IP PIN on my federal tax return?

A17: This is determined by how you file.

If you file your return electronically, and you claim one or more dependents that have an IP PIN, you must enter their IP PIN on the following e-File tax forms: Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return, and series Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses Schedule Earned Income Credit.

Your e-File return will be rejected if you fail to enter a dependent’s IP PIN.

The IRS notes that if someone can claim you on their tax return as a dependent and you have an IP PIN, you must share your IP PIN with them if they e-File.

If you file a paper return, then you don’t need to enter an IP PIN for your dependent(s) when filing a paper tax return.

Q18: Should I include my IP PIN on Forms such as the 1040X, Amended Return, Form 4868, Automatic Filing Extension, or when I file my state tax return?

A18: No. The IP PIN is only used on federal tax Forms 1040 and 1040PR/SS.

Q19: Will I get my refund faster if I use my IP PIN?

A19: How quickly you receive your refund depends on your individual return information. If you include your IP PIN when filing, your return will be subject to the same validity checks as other returns not requiring an IP PIN.

See Where’s My Refund? for more information on the status of your refund.

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