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Frequently Asked Questions about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What's an IP PIN?

  2. I received an IP PIN but I lost it. How do I get another one?

  3. I am a victim of identity theft. Can I get an IP PIN?

  4. We are married filing a joint return and only one of us has an IP PIN. Does my spouse need to get an IP PIN as well?

  5. We are married filing a joint return using Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS and we both have an IP PIN. Do we need to enter both IP PINs on our tax return?

  6. There is only one field for the IP PIN on the paper Form 1040. If I am married filing jointly with my spouse, and only the spouse (second number to be shown on the return) receives the IP PIN, should the spouse file as the first SSN on the tax return and input his or her IP PIN?

  7. My return rejected and the reject code said I need an IP PIN. What do I do?

  8. I reported to the IRS that I was the victim of identity theft but I didn’t receive an IP PIN. Why didn’t I receive one?

  9. Where is the IP PIN on my CP01A Notice?

  10. Where do I enter my IP PIN on my tax return?

  11. If I receive an IP PIN but have not filed prior year returns, do I have to use the IP PIN I received this year on the prior year returns when I file them?

  12. I already have a PIN that I use to sign and file my electronic return. Can I use the IP PIN for both?

  13. Why did I receive an IP PIN?

  14. I received a CP01F stating that I “may be eligible for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number inviting me to receive an IP PIN.” What does this mean?

  15. I heard that taxpayers who filed a tax return last year with an address in Florida, Georgia, or the District of Columbia can get an IP PIN to protect their tax account. How do I get an IP PIN if this applies to me?

  16. I recently changed my address but did not notify the IRS. Will my IP PIN notice be forwarded?

  17. How can I check the status of my refund?

  18. I received an IP PIN for a deceased person. What do I do with it?

  19. Do I need to keep this IP PIN and use it again next year?

  20. When will the notices be sent to taxpayers?

  21. Should I give my IP PIN to my tax preparer?

  22. What happens if I received an IP PIN but don’t put the IP PIN on my return?

  23. Do I include my dependent's IP PIN on my tax return?

  24. Where can I find more information on the IP PIN?

  25. Should I include my IP PIN when submitting my estimated payments?

  26. Where can I provide feedback or comments about the IP PIN?

  27. Does the IP PIN also apply to my state return?

  28. Do I use my IP PIN instead of my Social Security Number when I file my return?

  29. How long will I continue to receive an IP PIN?

  30. Will each person who reported to the IRS that they have been the victim of identity theft be sent an IP PIN?

  31. If I have to file an amended return, will I need to include my IP PIN to file the return?

  32. If I file an extension, should I use my IP PIN and file electronically?

  33. Will I get my refund faster if I use my IP PIN?

  34. Will using my IP PIN prohibit me from getting a refund anticipation loan (RAL)?

  35. If I lose my IP PIN, would it allow other people access to my tax information?


 

Q1: What's an IP PIN?

A1: An IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of your Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. Once you get an IP PIN, you must use your IP PIN to confirm your identity on your current federal tax return and any delinquent returns filed during the calendar year. 

Important: If you e-File your return and your IP PIN is missing or incorrect, our system will reject it. Filing a paper return with a missing or incorrect IP PIN will delay processing while we determine that it’s your return. This is done for your protection. We'll send you a new IP PIN each December by postal mail.

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Q2: I received an IP PIN but I lost it. How do I get another one?

A2: If you were assigned an IP PIN and you lost, misplaced, or didn't receive an IP PIN in the mail, you will need to obtain your IP PIN before you can electronically file your return. Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

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Q3: I am a victim of identity theft. Can I get an IP PIN?

A3: You can receive an IP PIN if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You received an IP PIN last year, or
  • You received a CP01A or CP01F notice, or
  • You filed your last tax return as a resident of FL, GA, or DC. 

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Q4: We are married filing a joint return and only one of us has an IP PIN. Does my spouse need to get an IP PIN as well?

A4: No. If one person receives an IP PIN, the spouse does not need an IP PIN in order to file your return.

  • If only the primary taxpayer (first SSN on the return) receives an IP PIN, they must enter their IP PIN when filing their return. 
  • If only the secondary taxpayer receives an IP PIN, they must enter their IP PIN if filing electronically. When filing a paper return, the spouse can’t and is not required to enter their IP PIN.

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Q5: We are married filing a joint return using Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS and we both have an IP PIN. Do we need to enter both IP PINs on our tax return?

A5: This will depend on whether you are filing electronically or by paper. 

Electronic Return:

  • Each taxpayer who receives an IP PIN must enter it on their tax return. 
  • If only one taxpayer receives an IP PIN, you must enter it with the taxpayer’s SSN to whom it belongs. 
  • If both taxpayers receive an IP PIN, both taxpayers must enter the IP PIN that goes with their SSN.

Paper Return:

  • Only the taxpayer listed first on the tax return needs to enter their IP PIN.

Note: The spouse’s IP PIN still protects their account even though it’s not entered on a paper return

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Q6: There is only one field for the IP PIN on the paper Form 1040. If I am married filing jointly with my spouse, and only the spouse (second number to be shown on the return) receives the IP PIN, should the spouse file as the first SSN on the tax return and input his or her IP PIN?

A6: No, if only the secondary SSN (spouse) on a tax return received an IP PIN due to a previous identity theft incident, and you are filing a paper return, you do not need to input the IP PIN or change the order of the spouses on the tax return. File your return as you would normally, without regard to the IP PIN. 

The IP PIN will still protect the spouse's SSN by preventing another return from being filed using this SSN as the primary number. 

If you are filing electronically, you must enter the spouse's IP PIN on the tax return through your tax preparation software. Refer to Q4 for more information on including the spouse's IP PIN on an electronic return.

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Q7: My return rejected and the reject code said that I need an IP PIN. What do I do?

A7: Because you have an IP PIN requirement, you'll need to include your IP PIN on your tax return. If your return rejected because you or your spouse (if married filing jointly) didn't input an IP PIN, then you or your spouse (if applicable) were assigned an IP PIN prior to the filing season and the IP PIN needs to be included on your return. If you don't have the IP PIN necessary to file, check the return reject code to see whether the IP PIN requirement belongs to you or your spouse (if applicable). You'll need to obtain that IP PIN or a replacement IP PIN prior to resubmitting your return electronically. 

Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

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Q8: I reported to IRS that I was the victim of identity theft but I didn’t receive an IP PIN this year. Why didn’t I receive one?

A8: Your account may not have been resolved prior to the date we issue IP PINs. However, if:

  • You received an IP PIN last year, or 
  • You received a notice in the last 12 months saying your account has been resolved and an identity theft indicator has been placed on your account, or 
  • One or more of the above and you moved in the last year and did not notify IRS via Form 8822, Change of Address, and did not receive an IP PIN this year, then: 

You'll need to retrieve your original or replace your IP PIN before you file your return. 

Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

Caution: Failure to input the IP PIN on an electronic return for all taxpayers who receive an IP PIN (primary or secondary or both) will result in the tax return being rejected. 

Failure to input the IP PIN for the primary taxpayer (when required) on a paper return will result in a delay processing your return and issuance of any refund that you may be entitled to, while we validate the information on your return. This validation is for your protection.

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Q9: Where is the IP PIN on my CP01A Notice?

A9: Your IP PIN is located on the bottom of the second paragraph on the left hand side of the notice. The IP PIN is in bold print and states “Your Identity Protection Pin is:_____”

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Q10: Where do I enter the IP PIN on my tax return?

A10: 

Filing as an individual, not filing a joint return

Electronic Return: (Caution: See additional joint filing rules below if filing a joint return.)

  • Your tax software or practitioner will tell you where to enter the IP PIN.
  • Due to software variations, we don’t know the location of the IP PIN within each package. If you can’t find where to enter your IP PIN, search within your software for Identity Protection PIN or IP PIN or contact the software provider’s help desk.
  • The 6-digit IP PIN is sometimes confused with the 5-digit e-File PIN; they’re not the same or interchangeable.

Paper Return:

  • Enter the IP PIN in the gray box marked ‘Identity Protection PIN’ located to the right of Spouse’s signature and occupation.

Amended Returns, Extensions and Installment Agreements
An IP PIN is not required to file:

  • Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return;
  • Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return; or
  • Form 433-D, Installment Agreement.

If you are filing a joint return using Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS

Electronic Returns

  • Each taxpayer who receives an IP PIN must enter it on their tax return.
  • If only one taxpayer receives an IP PIN, you must enter it with the taxpayer’s SSN to whom it belongs.
  • If both taxpayers receive an IP PIN, both taxpayers must enter the IP PIN that goes with their SSN.

Paper Returns

  • Only the taxpayer listed first on the tax return needs to enter their IP PIN.

Note: The spouse’s IP PIN still protects their account even though it’s not entered on a paper return

Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

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Q11: If I received an IP PIN but have not filed prior year returns, do I have to use the IP PIN I received this year on the prior year returns when I file them?

A11: Yes, you should use your current IP PIN on any delinquent form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS returns (after 2010) filed during the current calendar year.

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Q12: I already have a PIN that I use to sign and file my electronic return. Can I use that PIN or the IP PIN for both purposes?

A12: No, they are not the same or interchangeable. The 6-digit IP PIN is strictly for validating the identity of taxpayers who have met the criteria to receive an IP PIN. If you received a notice with an IP PIN or you received an IP PIN through Get an IP PIN, you must use the 6-digit IP PIN to validate your identity when you file.

You must use your assigned 5-digit e-file PIN or prior year adjusted gross income (AGI) to digitally sign your return.

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Q13: Why did I receive an IP PIN?

A13: Our records show you were previously the victim of identity theft; or you were identified by IRS as a possible victim of identity theft; or you participated in the pilot program for residents of FL, GA or DC. This IP PIN is used to authenticate your identity when filing current and delinquent form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS tax returns during the current calendar year.

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Q14: I received a CP01F stating that I “may be eligible for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number inviting me to receive an IP PIN.” What does this mean?

A14: Select individuals who were identified as possible identity theft victims have the opportunity to voluntarily opt in to receive an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number to expand protection of their account from tax-related identity theft. 

Participation in this program is strictly voluntary and if you choose not to participate, you may file your return as you would normally. At this time, if you choose to receive an IP PIN, you can’t opt out in future years. 

Important: If you’re unable to verify your identity using our online IP PIN system, you won’t be able to get an IP PIN. You should file your return without an IP PIN.

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Q15: I heard that taxpayers who filed a tax return last year with an address in Florida, Georgia, or the District of Columbia can get an IP PIN to protect their tax account. How do I get an IP PIN if this applies to me?

A15: You can find information about our IP PIN Pilot Program for residents of Florida, Georgia, or the District of Columbia on the Identity Protection PIN Pilot Program page.

Important: If you’re unable to verify your identity using our online IP PIN system, you won’t be able to get an IP PIN. You should file your return without an IP PIN.

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Q16: I recently changed my address but have not notified the IRS. Will my IP PIN notice be forwarded?

A16: No, for security reasons, the IRS issues the IP PIN to the address listed in our records. If you have moved and not notified the IRS, the IP PIN will not be forwarded to your new address. The notice will be returned to IRS as undeliverable.  

You must file Form 8822, Change of Address, with IRS to have your address updated to receive any correspondence, including your IP PIN, from IRS.

  • If you filed Form 8822, Change of Address, notifying IRS of your new address, the IP PIN should be sent to your new address if the form was processed in time for the mid-December mailing of the IP PIN.
  • If you were qualified to receive an IP PIN and didn't receive an IP PIN by January 13, regardless of whether you filed a Form 8822, Change of Address, please visit Get An IP PIN. You must retrieve your original or obtain a replacement IP PIN prior to filing your return. If you prefer not to establish an account, please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 or visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center to determine whether we issued you an IP PIN. Note: The IPSU hours of operation are: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). 
  • If you were issued an IP PIN, you will need to retrieve your original IP PIN or obtain a replacement IP PIN prior to filing your return.  

If you're filing electronically and an IP PIN is required on your return and is missing or incorrect, your return will be rejected. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

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Q17: How can I check the status of my refund?

A17: Taxpayers should check the “Where’s My Refund?” page on the IRS.gov website or the IRS2Go phone app. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

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Q18: I received an IP PIN for a deceased person. What do I do with it?

A18: If the deceased taxpayer is required to file a “final” return to report income in their year of death, you must use the IP PIN on their return. If the taxpayer is not required to file a “final” tax return, no further action needs to be taken. Dispose of the notice in a secure manner (example: shred the notice) to prevent the deceased person's personal information being used.  

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Q19: Do I have to keep this IP PIN and use it again next year?

A19: No, use your current IP PIN to file any Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040PR/SS, during the current calendar year. This includes any delinquent returns filed during the year. We'll provide you with a new IP PIN every year before the start of the tax season. Only use your most current IP PIN when filing your return. 

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Q20: When will the IRS send notices to taxpayers?

A20: The IRS will send a CP01A notice containing an IP PIN in late December to all taxpayers qualified to receive an IP PIN.

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Q21: Should I give my IP PIN to my tax preparer?

A21: Yes, if you choose to hire a tax preparer or take advantage of a volunteer tax preparation service to prepare your tax return, you'll need to provide your IP PIN so the preparer can include it on your return. Reveal it only when you are ready to sign and submit your federal income tax return.

If an IP PIN is required on your return but is missing or incorrect, you won't be able to e-File and must file a paper return. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

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Q22: What happens if I received an IP PIN but don’t use it on my return?

A22: The IP PIN acts as an authentication number to validate the correct owner of the Social Security number on the tax return.  

Electronic Return:

  • If we sent you an IP PIN through Get an IP PIN, but you do not use it or you enter it incorrectly, your return will reject and you won't be able to e-File your return. If your return is rejected because of a missing or incorrect IP PIN, you'll need to obtain your original IP PIN or a replacement IP PIN in order to e-File your return. 
  • If you have lost or misplaced your IP PIN, visit Lost or Misplaced IP PIN’s for more information on retrieving your original IP PIN. You can register and create an account to receive your IP PIN. The registration process requires you to provide us with specific personal information and answer a series of questions to validate your identity. This process is essential to protect your personal and tax information. If you previously created an account, just go back into your account to retrieve your original IP PIN.
  • If you are unable or prefer not to create an account on IRS.gov, you may contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 to obtain a replacement IP PIN. Note:  The IPSU hours of operation are: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Paper Return:

Failure to input the IP PIN for the primary taxpayer (when required) on a paper return will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

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Q23: Do I include my dependent's IP PIN on my tax return?

A23: No. You will not need to enter an IP PIN for a dependent in order to file your return. However, if the dependent's SSN has been used to file another tax return, the dependent should report the incident to the IRS and an identity theft indicator will be placed on their account and they may receive an IP PIN prior to the tax season. While this IP PIN doesn't have to be entered to claim the person as your dependent, the IP PIN will prevent anyone else from filing a tax return using the dependents information as the primary or secondary taxpayer.

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Q24: Where can I get more information on the Identity Protection PIN?

A24: General information can be found on The Identity Protection IP PIN page.

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Q25: Should I include my IP PIN when submitting estimated taxes?

A25: No, only include your IP PIN when filing your Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040PR/SS. You don't need to include your IP PIN when submitting your estimated tax payments.

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Q26: Where can I provide feedback or comments about the IP PIN program?

A26: You can send feedback and comments to us at ippinfeedback@irs.gov, but we're unable to provide you with a response.

  • Please don't send personal information or questions about your tax account. 
  • If you received a notice and need additional information on the program, please call the number shown on the notice.

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Q27: Does the IP PIN also apply to my state return?

A27: No, the IP PIN is only used for your federal income tax return and only for Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040PR/SS. Don't include your IP PIN on your state return.

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Q28: Do I use my IP PIN instead of my Social Security number when I file my return?

A28: No. The IP PIN is not a substitute for your SSN. The IP PIN validates the personal information on your return against information on your tax account. Your SSN identifies the account to which the IP PIN is applied.

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Q29: How long will I continue to receive an IP PIN?

A29: Most people will continue to receive an IP PIN every year.

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Q30: Will each person who reported to the IRS that they have been the victim of identity theft be issued an IP PIN?

A30: If you received a notice or letter in the last 12 months saying that your account has been resolved, an identity theft indicator has been placed on your account and you didn't receive an IP PIN, you may need to obtain your IP PIN prior to filing.

Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 or visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center to identify whether an IP PIN was issued to you. Note: The IPSU hours of operation are: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). If you were issued an IP PIN, they will provide you with information on how to obtain your IP PIN prior to filing your return.  

Visit Lost or Misplaced IP PINs for additional information on retrieving your original or getting a replacement IP PIN.

If you file an electronic return and an IP PIN is required but is missing or incorrect, your return will be rejected. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

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Q31: If I file an amended return, will I need to include my IP PIN to file the return?

A31: No, the IP PIN is a single-use identification number and can be used only for Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040PR and 1040SS. The Form 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, does not allow for input of an IP PIN.

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Q32: If I file an extension, will I need to include my IP PIN on the extension?

A32: No. If you are filing an extension for the current tax year, you must file the Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return, either electronically or by paper. This form doesn't require the use of an IP PIN.  

Filing an extension has no effect on the ability to use your IP PIN on your tax return when you file it, whether you e-File or file by paper. When you are ready to file your tax return, simply use the IP PIN on your Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040PR or 1040SS at that time.

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Q33: Will I get my refund faster if I use my IP PIN?

A33: If you include your IP PIN when filing, your return will be subject to the same validity checks as other returns. How quickly you receive your refund depends on your individual return information.

If an IP PIN is required but is missing or incorrect, you will not be able to e-File and must file a paper return. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN will mean your return will take longer to process while we validate the information. This increased validation is for your protection but it will delay any refund you may be due.

See Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov for more information on the status of your refund.

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Q34: Will using my IP PIN prohibit me from getting a refund anticipation loan (RAL)?

A34: The IRS uses the IP PIN only to validate the identity of the taxpayer for the purpose of filing a federal income tax return. The IP PIN has no effect on the ability to obtain a refund anticipation loan. Each bank that offers RALs has their own set of requirements regarding eligibility for their bank products.

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Q35: If I lose my IP PIN, would it allow other people access to my tax information?

A35: The purpose of the IP PIN is to validate the identity of a taxpayer during the filing of the current year tax return. The IP PIN doesn't allow anyone to contact the IRS to access your tax information. You are encouraged to keep your IP PIN in a safe location until it is time to prepare your tax return.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 05-Feb-2015