The Importance of an Identity Protection PIN for Taxes

The Importance of an Identity Protection PIN for Taxes

August 29, 2023

Tax season can often be stressful and overwhelming, with the constant worry of fraud and identity theft. To help combat this issue, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has introduced an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) for taxpayers. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of an IP PIN for taxes, how it works, and how you can obtain one to better protect your identity and your tax returns. 

What is an Identity Protection PIN? 

An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers by the IRS. It is an additional layer of security designed to protect taxpayers’ identity and prevent fraudulent tax filings. With an IP PIN, the IRS will only accept tax returns filed with the correct PIN, reducing the risk of someone else attempting to file a return using your personal information. 

How Does an IP PIN Work? 

When a taxpayer has an IP PIN, they must include it on their tax return to validate their identity. The PIN serves as proof that the filer is the legitimate taxpayer and not an imposter using stolen personal information. If someone tries to file a tax return using another person’s Social Security number, the absence of the correct IP PIN will trigger an alert, helping to prevent fraudulent tax refunds. 

Obtaining an IP PIN

In the past, the IRS only issued IP PINs to individuals who experienced identity theft or were at high risk for it. However, starting in 2021, the program was expanded to allow all taxpayers to voluntarily obtain an IP PIN. Here’s how you can obtain an IP PIN for added protection: 

1. Get an IP PIN Online

Taxpayers with a valid Social Security number, a mailing address, and the ability to pass a rigorous authentication process can now get an IP PIN online. The IRS website has a “Get an IP PIN” tool that allows eligible individuals to create an account and obtain their PIN. 

2. Opt-In Through the Mail

If you prefer not to apply for an IP PIN online, you can still request one by mail. You will need to complete and submit Form 15227, also known as the Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. The IRS will then review your application and mail you a new IP PIN if approved. 

Benefits of Having an IP PIN

Having an Identity Protection PIN offers several benefits for taxpayers, including: 

1. Increased Security

The primary benefit of an IP PIN is the enhanced security it provides. By requiring the correct PIN for tax filing, the IRS reduces the risk of fraud and identity theft. It adds an extra layer of protection to your tax returns, ensuring that only you can file under your Social Security number. 

2. Prevention of Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. With an IP PIN, the chances of falling victim to tax-related identity theft are significantly reduced. It helps the IRS distinguish between legitimate taxpayers and fraudsters, safeguarding your tax refund and financial well-being. 

3. Peace of Mind

Tax season can be a stressful time, but having an IP PIN can give you peace of mind. Knowing that you have an additional level of protection against identity theft can alleviate worries and allow you to focus on completing your tax return accurately and on time. 

Applying for an IP PIN should be considered by all taxpayers as an additional measure to safeguard their identities and tax returns. By obtaining an IP PIN, you are taking proactive steps to protect yourself from potential identity theft and fraud during tax season. 

Final Thoughts

An Identity Protection PIN is a valuable tool for taxpayers to safeguard their identities and protect against tax-related fraud. Whether you obtain your IP PIN online or through the mail, having this additional layer of security can provide peace of mind during tax season. Remember, it is essential to keep your IP PIN secure and not share it unnecessarily, as it is a unique identifier for your tax filings. Stay vigilant, protect your identity, and enjoy a more secure tax season with an IP PIN.

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