Identity Theft & what the IRS is doing about it
As part of this ongoing effort, the IRS has implemented the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program. This program is designed to help protect people against tax-related identity theft. The IP PIN program is now available to anyone who can verify their identity. We encourage our clients to protect themselves through the IP PIN program.
The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee, or ETAAC, last month highlighted the importance of the IP PIN to taxpayers and tax professionals.
“The IP PIN is the number one security tool currently available to taxpayers from the IRS,” the independent advisory group said in its annual report to Congress. “This tool is the key to making it more difficult for criminals to file false tax returns in the name of the taxpayer. In our view, the benefits of increased IP PIN use are many.”
For security reasons, tax professionals cannot obtain an IP PIN on behalf of clients. Taxpayers must obtain their own IP PIN.
Here are a few 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; taxpayers must obtain a new IP PIN each year.
- Only taxpayers who can verify their identities may obtain an IP PIN.
- IP PIN users should never share their numbers 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.
We encourage individual clients to consider obtaining an IP PIN. If you need assistance, please contact us or your tax advisor.