For 2020 tax filings, the IRS has opened their Identity Protection PIN Program to all taxpayers for a more secure tax process. The voluntary IP PIN program was previously used for identity theft victims to prevent thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using their personal information, and after nearly a decade, the program is available nationwide.
“This is a way to, in essence, lock your tax account, and the IP PIN serves as the key to opening that account,” said IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig in a release. “Electronic returns that do not contain the correct IP PIN will be rejected, and paper returns will go through additional scrutiny for fraud.”
An IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. There is no need to file an Identity Theft Affidavit to opt into the program, but you must pass a “rigorous identity verification process.” You must get a new IP Pin annually, and spouses and dependents are eligible for an IP PIN if they can verify their identities.
All taxpayers are encouraged to first use the online IP PIN tool on the IRS website, but taxpayers who cannot verify their identities online do have options. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less may complete an “Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number,” and mail or fax it to the IRS. The taxpayer will then be contacted by the IRS.
Taxpayers who cannot verify their identities online or by phone, and who are ineligible to file an Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, can contact the IRS and make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center to verify their identities in person. Taxpayers should bring two forms of identification, including one government-issued picture identification. Taxpayers who verify their identities through the in-person process will have an IP PIN mailed to them within three weeks. Once in the program, the IP PIN will be mailed to these taxpayers each year.
For more information, visit IRS.gov/IPPin