FAQs about e-Services and Secure Access


All e-Services users must validate their identities using a rigorous, two-factor authentication process called Secure Access. This is a one-time process. If you already have registered and validated your account through Secure Access, you do not need to take further action.  Two-factor authentication helps prevent e-Services accounts from being taken over by cybercriminals who may be adept at stealing passwords but are unlikely to have the user’s mobile phone. Preventing account takeovers helps protect taxpayer and tax practitioner data and helps prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

FAQs for Secure Access Registration – Who is Affected?

I’m a TIN Matching user. Do I need to register through Secure Access?

Yes. All e-Services products are protected by Secure Access. That means all e-Services users must validate their identities using the Secure Access registration process.

Can I change my username when I register through Secure Access?

No. Your e-Services username is permanent and cannot be changed.

Can I change my e-Services password?

Although your username is permanent and will remain the same, you may be asked to change your password to meet new password protocols.

As a taxpayer, I passed Secure Access when I registered through the Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN tool. I used a different username and password because it is a personal account. How does this affect me?

If you have a personal account for either Get Transcript Online, IP PIN or any Secure Access-protected tool on IRS.gov, your e-Services account merged with your Secure Access account. You will login using your e-Services user name and retain your Secure Access password.

FAQs for Secure Access Registration - Getting Started

How do I get started with verifying my identity through e-Services?

Before you start, review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools.

Here are a few items you will need:

  • A readily available email address;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • Your filing status and address from your last-filed tax return;
  • Your personal account number from a:
    • credit card, or
    • student loan, or
    • home mortgage loan, or
    • home equity (second mortgage) loan, or
    • home equity line of credit (HELOC), or
    • car loan
      (The IRS does not retain this data)
  • A readily available mobile device that either is text-enabled or supports the IRS2Go app. A text-enabled mobile phone associated with your name will allow you to complete registration in one session. If you want to use a business phone or the IRS2Go app, request the activation code by mail.
  • NOTE: The credit card cannot be American Express, a debit card or a corporate card issued in your name by your company or organization.

What is the difference between the various “codes” used by Secure Access?

There are three codes:

  • A one-time confirmation code is sent to your email address as you begin the registration process and is valid for 15 minutes.
  • A one-time activation code is sent during the registration process to validate your mobile phone.
    • May be sent to your mobile phone and is valid for 10 minutes or;
    • May be mailed to your address of record if you lack a mobile phone associated with your name and is valid for 30 days
  • A six-digit security code generated each time you login to e-Services:
    • May be sent to your phone (as an SMS text or a voice call) and is valid for 10 minutes or;
    • May be generated via IRS2Go app and is valid for 60 seconds.

Can several users register the same mobile phone?

No. The system allows only one user per device.

How can I register through Secure Access if I have a business mobile phone and do not have a personal mobile phone associated with my name?

There is an option to receive an activation code by mail. This option will allow you to receive an activation code within five to 10 business days, return to Secure Access and complete the process by entering any US-based phone number to receive the code via a SMS text message or a voice call. The mailed activation code is valid for 30 days.

If I get an activation code by mail, do I still need a mobile phone?

No. You may receive the security code via a voice phone call to any US-based phone, or you can use the IRS2Go app available on mobile devices. Upon completing the activation code process, you will be prompted to provide a phone number OR use the IRS2Go app in lieu of a text to receive the recurring security code. IRS2Go can be used on many types of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. This includes phone or tablet products supported by Apple, Android and Amazon. It does not include laptops or computers.

What is the benefit of the IRS2Go app?

After you have successfully registered through Secure Access, the app will generate a security code for e-Services users. You do not need to be connected to the Internet to receive a security code through the app. But you do need an app-enabled mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet. This is to assist those users who may be in offices that do not receive cell service or are not Internet connected.

If we use the IRS2Go app, can several people use the same tablet?

No. Each individual must have his or her own mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet. 

I don’t have Internet service at work, can I still use IRS2Go app?

Your app-enabled device will need to be connected to the Internet to complete an initial, one-time set up and receive a one-time digital key. However, after this set up, the app itself will generate a security code as needed and do so offline. Your device does not need to be connected to the Internet to generate the recurring security code needed for each login.

Is there an option to have a landline instead of a digital device to receive security codes?

If you need to use a landline to receive the one-time security codes during login, you may register with the mailed activation code option mentioned above.

Where can I get the IRS2Go app?

The IRS2Go app is available for free at iTunes App Store, Google Play and Amazon. It will work on mobile devices powered by Apple (iPhone and iPad), Android (phones and tablets by Google, Samsung and other manufacturers) or Amazon (Amazon Fire tablets.)   Learn more about the IRS2Go app at Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools.  

FAQs for Secure Access Registration – the Exception Process

I’m unable to register through Secure Access, what is my option?

If you are an existing e-services customer and cannot authenticate your identity through Secure Access, you may call the e-Help Desk and verify your identity over the phone. If you successfully authenticate your identity via phone, the IRS assistor will establish your Secure Access account, issue a temporary password and issue you an activation code by mail. You must return to the Secure Access registration to complete the process by providing a phone number or establishing IRS2Go, which will enable you to receive the recurring security code each time you login.

What do I need to successfully authenticate my identity by phone?

You will need access to your email and your most recent and prior year tax returns as well as documents such as information returns and associated schedules.

Can I skip the online process and call the e-Help Desk to authenticate?

It is much faster and easier to authenticate your identity online. We will add additional telephone support assistors in late October, but we do anticipate an increased call volume.

What is my option if I cannot authenticate by phone?

If you are an existing e-Services user and you are unable to authenticate your identity through the online Secure Access process or by phone through the exception process, you will need to make an appointment to visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center to identity proof in-person. You must bring two forms of government identification. Once your identity is validated at a TAC, you must call the e-Help Desk again so they assistor can establish a Secure Access account, create a temporary password and issue an activation code by mail.

I hired several new employees who have failed the online Secure Access process. Can they use the exception process?

Yes. The IRS has created an exception process for first-time e-Services users who lack all the required information to complete the process online or who are unsuccessful. Because new users do not have a history with the IRS e-Services program, they must verify their identities in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). New users who cannot pass Secure Access should call the e-help Desk for a referral to make an appointment at the TAC. Users should inform the IRS assistor that they are unable to verify their identity for Secure Access authentication for e-Services. For the TAC appointment, the user must bring a government-issued picture ID and Social Security Card or an original or certified embossed birth certificate. TAC personnel will make note of the authentication, the date and the documents used. TAC personnel will direct users to call the e-help desk for assistance in completing the e-Services registration.

e-Services Registration: Common Errors

  • Please read the instructions. There’s an overview of the Secure Access registration process here and FAQs specifically for e-Services users here.
  • Do not use an old Internet Explorer browser.  E-Services is designed to be compatible with Internet Explorer 11.0 and higher only. Other browsers are not currently supported.
  • Do not call for exception processing without first trying to authenticate online. If you have all the information needed, it will take you 15 minutes to complete.
  • Do not use old bookmarks to access registration page. Go to IRS.gov/eservices and select the appropriate application.
  • Do not make multiple attempts to guess your username or password, use the username and password recovery tools. Multiple failed attempts will result in a 24-hour lock out. The e-help Desk cannot unlock you. This lockout feature protects your account from cybercriminals who use automated software to guess usernames and passwords.
  • If you use the “Forgot Password” recovery tool, once you receive your temporary password, completely close all browser windows and reenter the e-Services login page to enter your temporary password.  
  • Tax professionals cannot access client transcripts through Get Transcript. Tax professionals must be authorized to obtain client transcripts and use the Transcript Delivery Systems through e-Services.
  • To change your mobile telephone number for receiving security code texts; you can modify your profile to change the mobile phone number as long as you still have access to the old number. 

How to change your mobile phone number in your e-Services account

If you want to change the mobile telephone number for receiving security code texts, you can modify your profile to change the mobile phone number as long as you still have access to the old number.