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IP-PIN for 2020 Returns in 2021

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Lincoln, USA
@noahbuscher

The Identity Protection PIN or IP-PIN is an extra layer of personal identity security. Protect yourself from tax related identity theft. Attention: We strongly encourage you to obtain your own IP-PIN to protect your 2020 tax return.

The IP-PIN is assigned in the form of a six-digit number, e.g. 123456, by the IRS to qualifying taxpayers as protection of their social security number not being used fraudulently or by mistake on their 2020 Income Tax Returns.

See also: Why was my tax return rejected?

How to Apply for an Identity Protection PIN

When you prepare and eFile your 2020 Taxes on eFile.com, you will be asked to enter your IP-PIN during checkout. That IP PIN will then be use to verify your identity by the IRS. If the IP-PIN you entered does not match the one on record, the return will be rejected. At that point, you can re-enter the IP-PIN or apply for a new one.

Before you apply for your personal Identity Protection PIN, review these points first:

  • Primary, secondary taxpayer, or a dependent can obtain an IP PIN upon proof of identity.
  • Prove your identity via a valid Social Security Number or SSN.
  • Or, prove your identity via an Individual Tax Identification Number or ITIN.
  • The IP Personal Identification Number is only valid for one year and must be renewed annually.  
  • Applying online for the IP PIN is fast and secure. In addition, it is the only method to obtain the IP PIN immediately to the taxpayer.
  • Taxpayers who voluntarily apply or opt-in to the IP PIN program do not need to submit Form 14039 - Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • During 2022, taxpayers will have the option to opt-out from the IP PIN program.
  • An incorrectly entered IP PIN on an electronically filed tax return or extension will result in a temporary rejection. This can be corrected by entering the correct IP PIN and re-efiling at no charge.

Part of the IP PIN application is the registration process of your IRS account.

IRS Service Account Registration

By applying for an IP-PIN, you also register your IRS account where you can retrieve your tax returns and your IRS payment history over time. Here is what you will need to verify your identity during the 15 minute IRS account and IP PIN registration process:

  • A valid email address; check your spam folder during the process as you might get emails from the IRS.
  • Your valid Social Security Number - SSN - or Individual Tax Identification Number - ITIN.
  • The tax filing status of your latest tax return. Obtain a copy digitally or retrieve a physical copy.
  • The mailing address on that tax return. Enter the exact address as shown on the last return. Note: If you just filed a return with a new address, try entering the old address as that might still be stored.
    • In case of a PO Box address, enter 'PO Box" in the ‘Address Line 1‘ field with no periods and the number; e.g. PO Box 123. 
    • Military Address: Enter APO, FPO or DPO as the ‘City’ and select/enter AA, AE, or AP from the ‘State/U.S. Territory’ dropdown.
    • A foreign address can only be registered for the online payment portal, not IP-PIN, transcript, etc. See more: information on taxes for foreign aliens and U.S. Citizens and resident aliens working or living abroad.
  • Financial account number(s) linked to your name. For example, you might be asked to enter or select the last 8 digits of your credit card - American Express, debit, or corporate cards are excluded. Your financial information will be verified by Experian; some account numbers could fail the verification process.
  • Loans: You might be asked to enter your student loan account number - the number might consist of numbers and/or letters, but does not include any symbols - provided on your student loan statement. Student loans issued by Nelnet can not be verified.
    • Or, you might be asked to verify or enter mortgage information or home equity loan data.
    • Or, verify or enter home equity line of credit or auto, car loan information.
  • A mobile phone must be linked to your name; it must be U.S. based and able to receive text messages. During registration, you will receive a one-time activation code to your mobile phone number. You have limited time to enter this code.
    • If you do not have a U.S. based phone registered in your name, select to receive the activation code by postal mail. Once you have the code, you have 30 days to complete your account registration. After that, you can download the IRS mobile app to receive codes.
    • If for any other reason you can not register with your phone, request the activation code by mail.
  • During the registration process or later, you might receive tax messages originated from IRS number 77958 or phone number: 202-552-1226. If you previously opted out of receiving text messages, send this text message: Text IN to 77958.

Register Account, Get IP PIN

Get Your IP PIN Offline

  • For obtaining a new IP-PIN: Taxpayers with income of $72,000 or less can complete Form 15227, IP PIN Application and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form. Once the IRS has received the form, the taxpayer will receive a call from the IRS to verify the personal identity. Once completed and passed, the taxpayer will receive an IP PIN for the next filing season.
    • Taxpayers who can't apply online or are not eligible file Form 15227 can make an appointment with a Taxpayer Assistance Center. The taxpayer has to provide two forms of picture identification. Once the the taxpayer passes the authentication, an IP PIN will be mailed to the taxpayer.
  • For retrieving your assigned IP-PIN: If there is any trouble creating an IRS Account (no credit card or loan to verify identity, etc.), there are alternatives. Taxpayers can call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490 for assistance with this. The IRS will help verify your identity and mail your most recently generated IP-PIN to the address they have on record within 21 days.

If a taxpayer is unable to electronically file their return without this and cannot get their IP-PIN in time, they may have to mail in their tax return as this will not require the IP-PIN.

Taxpayers should store the IP PIN in a safe location and not share their personal PIN with anyone but their tax provider. The IRS will never ask for your IP-PIN; any phone call, email, or text asking for your IP-PIN is a scam.

Using your IP-PIN when Filing or e-Filing your Tax Return

When you file your taxes with eFile.com, you will enter your IPPIN during the process. This will quickly and easily verify your identity and allow your return to be processed and get your tax refund to you, if owed. Be sure to enter it correctly on the first attempt in order to avoid any errors or rejections. Obtain your PIN from your IRS account or a letter sent from the IRS.

Common questions when using your IP-PIN:

  • What if I enter my IP PIN incorrectly? The IRS will reject the return temporarily. Login to your eFile account and attempt to refile using the correct IP-PIN. If you are certain the number entered is correct, review it on your IRS online account, contact one of our Taxperts, or call the IRS to reissue an IP-PIN at 1-800-908-4490 for specialized assistance.
  • How do I use my IP PIN on a joint return? If you are married filing jointly, you will enter your IP PIN as if you were filing single if you have one. If you and your spouse both have one, enter it on your respective returns under the same tax filing status. If only one of you has one, only that spouse will have to enter it. If you're unsure of your status, see this free and easy STATucator to get your IRS filing status.
  • Where do I enter my IP PIN when filing my tax return? The eFile Tax App will prompt you to enter your IP PIN during checkout. If you are having trouble finding where or how to enter your PIN, contact one of our Taxperts.
  • Do I have to use my IP PIN to file previous year returns? You will need to enter your PIN to validate your identity if you intend to file any return for a prior year in addition to the current year.
  • How long is my IP PIN good for? Each IP-PIN is valid for one year; the IRS will issue a new one each year. You may apply for one via the instructions above or the IRS may send you Letter CP01A with your new IP-PIN sometime in late December or early January.
  • Should I get rid of my IP PIN after I have filed? Keep your IP-PIN in a safe location for the entire year, even if you have already used it. After you have received a new one for the new year, it is safe to dispose or delete the old one, but we recommend keeping it for your records.
  • How do I use my dependent's IP PIN on my tax return? If you claim a dependent on your tax return and they have their own IP-PIN, you will enter this when you e-file your return. The eFile Tax App will help you with this when applicable.
  • What forms do I use my IP PIN on? The IP-PIN is only used on the following 1040 forms: 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, and 1040-PR/SS. This means you will not use your IP-PIN when filing a tax amendment or tax extension.
  • Will I get my tax refund faster by using an IP PIN? Using your IP-PIN does not determine how or when you will receive your refund, if owed. See our free DATEucator to estimate your tax refund date.

Additional questions? Our Taxperts are here to help.

Tax-related Identity Theft Victims

Confirmed victims of tax-related identity theft should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if their e-Filed tax return got rejected due to a duplicate SSN. The IRS will then investigate their case and, once the fraudulent tax return is removed from the taxpayer's account, the taxpayer will automatically receive an IP PIN by postal mail at the start of the next calendar year or tax season.

Confirmed identity theft victims can't opt out of the IP PIN program unlike other taxpayers. IP-PINs will be mailed annually to confirmed victims and participants enrolled before 2020. This comes in the form of a CP01A Notice which will contain the PIN.

Lost IP-PINs can also be retrieved via the online account.

Review IRS identity theft information for taxpayers.

Register Account, Get IP PIN

Prepare your tax return with eFile.com and use your IP-PIN to verify your identity. See the ways eFile practices security for user data.

Learn about fake IRS emails and how to handle identity verification through an IRS letter you received.

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