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IRS suspends Identity Protection PIN online program

IRS Statement on IP PIN (Mar. 7, 2016).

IRS has announced that it has temporarily suspended its online Identify Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program; that program allowed taxpayers who had received such numbers and then lost or misplaced them, and certain other taxpayers, to retrieve IP PINs online.

Background. To provide relief to victims of identity theft, IRS began issuing IP PINs to eligible taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2011. An IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that allows their tax returns/refunds to be processed without delay and helps prevent the misuse of their Social Security Numbers (SSNs) on fraudulent Federal income tax returns.

A taxpayer can receive an IP PIN if he meets one of the following criteria:

  • He received an IP PIN last year;
  • He received a CP01A (which provides an IP PIN) or CP01F (which invites the taxpayer to obtain an IP PIN because he had a non-tax identity theft issue) notice; or
  • He filed his last tax return as a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia (DC).

Taxpayers receive their IP PINs by regular mail unless they received a CPO1F or the reason they received an IP PIN was their Florida, Georgia or DC residence.

In 2015 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), IRS provided instructions for taxpayers who were assigned an IP PIN, and who lost, misplaced, or didn’t receive the IP PIN in the mail. It said that such a taxpayer had to obtain his IP PIN before he could electronically file his return. He could retrieve his lost IP PIN by following the instructions at IRS’s “Get an IP PIN” webpage. Taxpayers could visit IRS’s “Retrieve his Lost or Misplaced IP PIN” webpage for additional information on retrieving original, or getting replacement, IP PINs. If a taxpayer was unable to retrieve his IP PIN or use the Get an IP PIN online tool, he could call his Identity Theft Specialized Unit to obtain a replacement IP PIN. He had to verify his identity, and a replacement IP PIN was issued to him. See Weekly Alert ¶  34  10/15/2015.

IRS temporarily suspends online program. IRS has announced that it has temporarily suspended the Identity Protection PIN tool on IRS.gov . IRS is conducting a further review of the application and is looking at further strengthening the security features on the tool.

IRS said that, for the current filing season, approximately 130,000 taxpayers used the online tool to try retrieving a lost or forgotten IP PIN. For taxpayers retrieving a lost IP PIN, IRS emphasizes it has put strengthened processes and filters in place for this tax season to review these tax returns.

IRS instructions for taxpayers affected by, or potentially affected by, the suspension. IRS has also provided the following instructions for taxpayers affected by, or potentially affected by, the suspension:

…Taxpayers who have been issued an IP PIN should continue to file their tax returns as they normally would.

…Taxpayers who are IP PIN holders but who lost their CP01A letters containing the IP PIN will need to call IRS. If they can verify their identity, they will be mailed their IP PIN. If they have moved since Jan. 1, 2016, they must file a paper tax return, which will receive additional scrutiny and will take longer to process.

…Taxpayers who live in Florida, Georgia or DC and who already have retrieved an IP PIN should include it on their tax returns. Taxpayers in those locations who have not retrieved an IP PIN will be unable to access the tool at this time but may file their tax return as normal.

…Taxpayers who filed a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, citing non-tax identity theft issues (Box 2), and who already have retrieved an IP PIN, should include it on their tax returns.

References: For IP PINs, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  T-10164.4; TaxDesk ¶  901,036.