Tax Security Tip: Get An IP PIN To Help Stop Indentity Thieves

The IRS and its Security Summit partners recently kicked off their annual summer campaign. This year’s theme, Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft, urges tax pros to step up their efforts to protect client data. An IP PIN is a valuable tool that can help in this effort and it is now available to anyone who can verify their identity.

An Identity Protection PIN is six-digit number eligible taxpayers get to help prevent their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from being used to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. This number helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their tax return. The Get An IP PIN tool  enables anyone who has an SSN or ITIN to get an IP PIN after they verify their identity through a rigorous authentication process. Taxpayers should review the Secure Access requirements before they try to use the Get An IP PIN tool.

For security reasons, tax pros can’t get an IP PIN on behalf of clients.

Tax pros who experience data theft can help clients by urging them to get an IP PIN quickly. Even if a thief already filed a fraudulent return, an IP PIN would still offer protections for later years and prevent taxpayers from being repeat victims of tax-related identity theft.

More things taxpayers should know about the IP PIN:

  • It’s a six-digit number known only to the taxpayer and the IRS.
  • The opt-in program is voluntary.
  • The IP PIN should be entered onto the electronic tax return when prompted by the software product or onto a paper return next to the signature line.
  • The IP PIN is valid for one calendar year.
  • For security reasons, enrolled participants get a new IP PIN each year
  • Spouses and dependents are eligible for an IP PIN if they can verify their identities
  • IP PIN users should never share their number with anyone but the IRS and their trusted tax preparation provider. The IRS will never call, email or text a request for the IP PIN.

Currently, taxpayers can get an IP PIN for 2021, which should be used when filing any federal tax returns during the year including prior year returns. New IP PINs will be available starting in January 2022.

Taxpayers who are unable to validate their identity online and have income of $72,000 or less, can file Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. The IRS will call the phone number the taxpayer provided on Form 15227 to validate the taxpayer’s identity. However, for security reasons, the IRS will assign an IP PIN for the next filing season and the taxpayer cannot use the IP PIN for the current filing season.

Taxpayers who cannot validate their identity online, or by the phone, or who are ineligible to file a Form 15227 can make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. They will need to bring one current government-issued picture ID and another identification document to prove their identity. Once verified, the taxpayer will receive an IP PIN in the mail usually within three weeks.

OTHER IRS ISSUES

Because of the pandemic, the IRS ran at restricted capacity in 2020.  In 2021, the IRS is dealing with changes in tax laws, issuance of two rounds of stimulus payments, as well as a tax season that had a late start and an extended ending, so they are experiencing backlogs in processing tax returns causing refunds to be delayed.

In addition to being under-staffed, many of the workers were working remotely which added to delays in handling of tax notice responses.  The delays in processing refunds and stimulus payments have increased calls to the IRS.  At one point, the IRS had even advised for taxpayers to not call them due to long wait times.

The IRS is currently processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, but limited resources continue to cause delays.  The IRS has advised that if you are waiting on a refund, stimulus payment, or response to correspondence about a tax notice, to be patient.

 

THE BWTP TEAM

Robert (Bob) Schmidt, CPA

Principal at BWTP, P.C. Read Bob’s bio here.

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