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Individual Tax

Should You Get an Identity Protection Pin?

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PINs) can protect taxpayers from tax fraud. Should you get one?

Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). An IP PIN is a six-digit number the IRS assigns to a taxpayer that works as “two-factor authentication.” Once an IP PIN is assigned to a taxpayer, only a person who has the taxpayer’s IP PIN (and all the taxpayer’s other identification information) can file a tax return for that taxpayer. So, an IP PIN can stop identity thieves from using a protected taxpayer’s information to file a fraudulent tax return.

An IP PIN also protects a taxpayer when they’re not required to file a tax return because the IRS will reject any return that doesn’t contain the taxpayer’s IP PIN.

Taxpayers should request an IP PIN for themselves and their family when:

  • They want to protect their SSN or ITIN from being used for filing fraudulent tax returns;
  • They want to protect their dependent’s SSN or ITIN from being used for filing fraudulent tax returns;
  • They think their SSN, ITIN or personal information was exposed by accident, theft or fraud; or
  • They suspect or know they’re a victim of identity theft.

How to get an IP PIN. Taxpayers may get an IP PIN using the Get an IP PIN tool on The tool will lead the taxpayer through a complete identification check. Once the taxpayer has authenticated their identity, the tool will provide the taxpayer with an IP PIN.

Once a taxpayer obtains an IP PIN, the IRS will issue the taxpayer a new IP PIN every year. Once an individual is enrolled in the IP PIN program, there’s no way to opt-out.

Note. The IRS may automatically assign an IP PIN if the IRS determines the taxpayer is a victim of tax-related identity theft. The taxpayer will receive a notification confirming the tax-related ID theft incident along with an assigned IP PIN for future tax-return filings.


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