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FAQs about e-Services and Secure Access

Starting Dec. 10, 2017, all e-Services users must re-register and re-validate their identities using a more rigorous, two-factor authentication process called Secure Access.  Two-factor authentication means returning users must enter their credentials (username and password), plus a security code sent via text to a mobile phone or to the IRS2Go app on a mobile device. 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 will be protected by Secure Access. That means all e-Services users must validate their identities using the Secure Access registration process.

Last December, I received Letter 5903 which asked me to call the e-Help Desk to verify my identity, which I did. Do I need to revalidate?

Yes. If you validated your identity by phone after receiving Letter 5903, you still must authenticate your identity by updating your e-Services account through Secure Access. All current e-Services users, who have not registered for other tools protected by Secure Access, must validate their identities by using Secure Access registration.

I registered for Get Transcript Online last year using Secure Access. What do I need to do?

If you created an IRS account last year using a tool protected by Secure Access, for example Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN tools, your authentication information automatically will migrate to Secure Access, including your existing e-Services username. Once e-Services moves behind Secure Access, you will be asked to change your e-Services password.

Can I change my user name 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 will be asked to change your password to meet new password protocols.

As a taxpayer, I passed Secure Access last year 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, your e-Services account will merge 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
    • 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 mobile phone or the IRS2Go app, request the activation code by mail. 
    NOTE: If you have a “credit freeze” on your credit records through Experian, it must be temporarily lifted before you can successfully complete this process. 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 mobile phone 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 text-enabled mobile phone number. 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. We have the IRS2Go app available for use on mobile devices in lieu of the mobile phone requirement. Upon completing the activation code process, you will be prompted to provide a text-enabled mobile 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?

The IRS is working toward an option that would send a voice text to your landline phone, but it is not available at this time.

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 text-enabled mobile 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.

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

No. The exception process is only for existing e-Services users. If you hire employees who do not currently have an e-Services account, they cannot use the exception process; they must complete the Secure Access process online.

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. 

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, but we do anticipate an increased call volume.

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.
  • Exception processing is only available for existing e-Services customers. 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 and select the appropriate “Go” button.
  • 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 must go through the authentication process again. IRS assistors cannot make the change for you. This is to safeguard against cybercriminals easily changing telephone numbers. See the new how-to below.

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 must re-register. Start by selecting appropriate “Go” button at and going to the login page. Select the “Forgot Username” feature under account login. Then select the “re-register” link to begin the process.