In today’s increasingly digital world, protecting personal information is of utmost importance, especially regarding financial and tax-related matters.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented an effective tool known as an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) to combat the growing threat of tax-related identity theft.
An IP PIN is a six-digit number that the IRS utilizes to verify a taxpayer’s identity and prevent unauthorized individuals from filing a tax return using their Social Security number. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of obtaining an IP PIN from the IRS.
We will explore the significance of an IP PIN, the eligibility criteria, the step-by-step application process, managing your IP PIN, and what to do if you lose it.
What is an IP PIN?
An IP PIN serves as an additional layer of security for taxpayers. It is a six-digit number assigned by the IRS that is used to verify the identity of individuals when they file their tax returns.
By including an IP PIN on their tax return, taxpayers ensure that only they, the legitimate filers, can file using their Social Security number. This proactive measure acts as a deterrent against identity theft and helps protect taxpayers from fraudulent tax filings.
The Importance of an IP PIN
The significance of an IP PIN cannot be overstated in safeguarding taxpayers from fraudulent activities. It plays a crucial role in preventing unauthorized individuals from filing tax returns using someone else’s identity.
The IRS may recommend an IP PIN to individuals who have experienced identity theft in the past or have been at a higher risk of such incidents. By using an IP PIN, taxpayers significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to tax-related identity theft, ensuring the integrity of their tax returns and protecting their rightful tax refunds.
Who Needs an IP PIN?
Eligibility for an IP PIN is determined based on specific criteria established by the IRS. Originally, the IP PIN program was designed for taxpayers who had previously experienced identity theft. However, the IRS has expanded the program, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers.
While only some are required to obtain an IP PIN, it is highly recommended for individuals who have encountered identity theft, individuals with compromised Social Security numbers, and those who wish to take proactive steps to enhance the security of their tax identity.
Additionally, some individuals may choose to obtain an IP PIN as a protective measure, even if they haven’t experienced identity theft.
How to Obtain an IP PIN from the IRS?
Obtaining an IP PIN from the IRS involves a straightforward process. Let’s take a close look at this step-by-step guide to applying for an IP PIN.
Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for an IP PIN:
Visit the official IRS website
Start by accessing the official IRS website, which is the primary platform for applying for an IP PIN.
Utilize the “Get an IP PIN” tool
The IRS provides a user-friendly “Get an IP PIN” tool on their website. This tool will guide you through the application process.
Verify your identity
During the application process, you will need to provide specific information to verify your identity. This includes your Social Security number, date of birth, filing status, and relevant information from your previous tax return.
Complete the application
Fill out the application form with accurate and up-to-date information. Ensure that all required fields are properly filled before proceeding.
Review and submit: Take a moment to review the information you have provided on the application form. Once you are confident that everything is accurate, submit your application.
Upon successful submission, you will receive a confirmation that the IRS has received your IP PIN application. The IRS will review your application and process your request.
What if You Can’t Pass the Secure Access Identity Verification?
While the online application process is convenient for most applicants, some individuals may need help with the Secure Access Identity Verification. In such cases, alternative options are available.
Contact the IRS directly
If you are unable to pass the Secure Access Identity Verification, you can contact the IRS directly for assistance. They will guide you through alternative methods of verifying your identity and obtaining an IP PIN.
Submit Form 15227
The IRS provides Form 15227, “Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number,” for eligible taxpayers who cannot apply online. Fill out the form accurately, following the provided instructions, and submit it to the IRS according to the specified guidelines.
It is essential to promptly address any issues or difficulties encountered during the application process. If you need assistance, reach out to the IRS or visit a nearby Taxpayer Assistance Center for guidance and support.
Managing Your IP PIN
Once you receive your IP PIN from the IRS, managing and protecting this valuable information is essential. Here are key considerations for managing your IP PIN.
Safely store your IP PIN
Keep your IP PIN in a secure location, preferably in a locked drawer or safe. Avoid carrying it with you or storing it electronically where it could be compromised.
Memorize your IP PIN
Memorize your IP PIN and avoid writing it down or sharing it with anyone. This helps maintain its confidentiality and reduces the risk of unauthorized access.
Use your IP PIN when filing tax returns
When it’s time to file your tax return, include your IP PIN on the designated section of the return. This verifies your identity and ensures that the IRS recognizes your legitimate tax filing.
Keep your IP PIN updated
If there are any changes to your personal information or if you suspect that your IP PIN may have been compromised, contact the IRS to update or request a new IP PIN.
What to Do if You Lose Your IP PIN
Losing your IP PIN can be concerning, but there are steps you can take to retrieve it:
Use the IRS online tool
The IRS provides an online tool specifically for retrieving lost or forgotten IP PINs. Access this tool on the IRS website and follow the instructions to recover your IP PIN.
Alternative options for identity verification
If you are unable to verify your identity online, contact the IRS directly for assistance. They will guide you through alternative options to retrieve your IP PIN.
Remember, if you lose your IP PIN or suspect it has been compromised, take immediate action to protect your tax identity by following the necessary procedures outlined by the IRS.
Key Takeaways: Securing Your Tax Identity with an IP PIN
In summary, an IP PIN is an essential tool provided by the IRS to protect taxpayers from tax-related identity theft. Obtaining an IP PIN adds an extra layer of security to your tax filings, ensuring that only you can file using your Social Security number.
Retrieve a lost IP PIN through the IRS online tool or by contacting the IRS for alternative options. By understanding the importance of an IP PIN and taking proactive steps to obtain and protect it, you can enhance the security of your tax identity and minimize the risk of tax-related identity theft.