Prevent Theft of Tax Returns With This IRS Tool

The IRS has an effective identity theft prevention tool now available to all taxpayers: a six-digit PIN that prevents fraudsters from filing fraudulent tax returns using your Social Security number. Here’s how you can get your own to use when filing your current tax return.

How does a PIN work?

Previously, only victims of identity theft were eligible for a PIN to protect their identity, but all taxpayers are eligible to use it in 2021. The number is used to verify your identity on federal tax forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, and 1040-PR / SS (PIN entered in the Personal Security PIN field next to Your Signature and Occupation) … Considering that social security numbers in nearly half of the country have been compromised in some way, you can think of a PIN as an actual security number.

The only compromise is that the verification process is pretty thorough and you won’t be able to file your tax return without a PIN. This means you need to be careful not to lose or forget your number. Also, you cannot use the same PIN every year; The IRS will mail you a new one every year prior to tax season .

How to get a PIN

Taxpayers looking for a 2021 PIN should go to the IRS website and press the blue button that says “IP PIN Tool”. You will need your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number, telephone number, and identifying information for financial accounts in your name, such as a credit card or mortgage (applicants without internet access with less than $ 72,000 can obtain a PIN by completing form 15227) . Otherwise, you can visit the Taxpayer Assistance Center and personally verify your identity. The IRS advises that an Assistant will verify your identity and send a PIN to your registered address within 21 days.

According to the IRS , here are some key facts about the PIN program:

  • This is a voluntary program.
  • Spouses and dependents are eligible for a PIN if they can verify their identity.
  • The PIN is valid for a calendar year.
  • People need to get a new PIN every year.
  • The online PIN entry tool is disabled from November to mid-January of each year.
  • Correct IP PINs must be entered in electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections and delays.
  • Taxpayers should never share their IP-PIN with anyone other than a reliable tax provider.
  • The IRS will never call, send an SMS or email asking for a PIN.
  • People should beware of PIN theft scams.
  • There is currently no opt-out option, but the IRS is working on it for 2022.

For more information on Identity Protection Tool, visit this FAQ page .

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