Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and preventing tax refund fraud caused by identity theft remains a top priority as one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS. The IRS is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving tax-related identity theft cases as quickly as possible. The IRS Identity Protection PIN (“IP PIN”) is a 6-digit number assigned to victims of identity theft whose cases have been resolved. The IP PIN allows affected individuals to avoid delays in filing returns and receiving refunds. Each taxpayer (even those who are not victims of identity theft) can voluntarily be assigned their own IP PIN. If one person receives an IP PIN, their spouse does not need a separate number in order to file their tax return. This 6-digit IP PIN can sometimes be confused with the 5-digit E-file PIN; however, they're not the same and are not interchangeable.
As part of a pilot program to help determine taxpayer demand for the IP PIN and the Service's ability to issue the IP PIN to a larger number of taxpayers, the IRS is again offering the IP PIN to all taxpayers who filed their federal tax returns last year from Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. These locations have been chosen for the pilot program since they’ve experienced the highest per-capita percentage of tax-related identity theft.
Taxpayers who wish to take advantage of this pilot opportunity for additional filing protection should visit www.irs.gov/getanippin. The IRS can’t issue an IP PIN to a taxpayer unless their identity has been verified online, which involves answering a series of questions that in most cases, can only be answered by the taxpayer. Therefore, your accountant will most likely be unable to obtain the IP PIN alone on your behalf.
Once issued an IP PIN, taxpayers will need to use it to confirm their identities on ALL federal income tax returns filed during the 2016 calendar year and future tax years. Taxpayers will receive a new IP PIN each December by postal mail. For your protection, if you e-file your return and your IP PIN is missing or incorrect, the e-filing system will reject your return. Filing a paper return with a missing or incorrect IP PIN also will result in delays in the processing of your tax return. Please contact us for more information and assistance with applying for your IP PIN.
Kris Braxton, CPA