IRS Identity Protection PIN update

The IRS has expanded eligibility for its Identity Protection PIN test program to taxpayers in the top 10 locations where identity thefts are reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The locations are the original three test sites (Washington, D.C., Florida and Georgia) plus seven new states: California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island.

The purpose of this phased rollout is to provide the IRS with data on volume and capacity to ensure that systems can adequately handle demand.

If this controlled rollout is successful, the IRS potentially could expand the “Get an IP PIN” tool eligibility to taxpayers in all states at a later date.

The IRS IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number (SSN) on fraudulent federal income tax returns. An IP PIN allows IRS to verify a taxpayer’s identity at point of filing, preventing someone else from filing a tax return on the IP PIN holder’s SSN.

Here’s how the expanded test project will work: Taxpayers who last year filed a tax return from one of the 10 locations may go to the Get an IP PIN tool, authenticate their identities and obtain an IP PIN. Because security is paramount, taxpayers must validate their identities through a rigorous two-factor authentication process called Secure Access.

There will not be a manual option for taxpayers who fail to authenticate their identities. The IRS will continue to issue by mail IP PINs to taxpayers who are confirmed victims of tax-related identity theft and whose cases have been resolved. However, these taxpayers also will have the option of using the Get an IP PIN tool to obtain an IP PIN immediately.

The program is a test of the IRS system’s capacity and will initially focus on the tax professional community. Once the program is expanded to all states, the IRS will have a wider, national communications effort to inform all taxpayers of the IP PIN option.

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