Frequently Asked Questions about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN)
Important: Due to an error, certain taxpayers received Identity Protection PIN notices with an incorrect year listed. Taxpayers and tax professionals should be advised the IP PIN listed on the CP01A Notice dated January 4, 2016, is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in calendar year 2016. Visit Filing Season Update on IP PINs for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What's an IP PIN?
- What happens if I have an IP PIN and fail to use it correctly on my return?
- I lost my IP PIN or I didn’t receive a new one in the mail. How do I get another one?
- I’m a victim of identity theft. Can I get an IP PIN?
- 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?
- 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?
- Paper form 1040 only provides a place to put the primary taxpayer’s IP PIN. If I’m married filing jointly and only my spouse (second SSN on the return) has an IP PIN, should we file with my spouse as primary on the tax return and input his or her IP PIN?
- My e-File return rejected and the reject code said I need an IP PIN. What do I do?
- I reported to IRS that I was the victim of identity theft but never received an IP PIN. Why didn’t I receive one?
- Where is the IP PIN on my CP01A Notice?
- Where do I enter the 6-digit IP PIN(s) on my tax return?
- If I received an IP PIN but haven’t filed prior year returns, do I have to use the IP PIN that I received this year on the prior year returns when I file them?
- Can I use the 5-digit e-File signature PIN instead of the 6-digit IP PIN?
- Why did I receive an IP PIN?
- If I choose to get an IP PIN, do I have to be a victim of identity theft?
- I heard that taxpayers who filed a tax return last year with an address in Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia could get an IP PIN to protect their tax account. How do I get an IP PIN if this applies to me?
- How can I check the status of my refund?
- I received an IP PIN for a deceased person. What do I do with it?
- Do I have to keep this IP PIN and use it again next year?
- When does the IRS send IP PIN notices to taxpayers?
- Should I give my IP PIN to my tax preparer?
- Do I include my dependent's IRS issued IP PIN on my federal tax return?
- Should I include my IP PIN when submitting estimated taxes?
- Does the IP PIN also apply to my state return?
- Do I use my IP PIN instead of my Social Security number when I file my return?
- How long will I continue to receive an IP PIN?
- Will each person who reported to the IRS they are the victim of identity theft be issued an IP PIN?
- If I file an amended return Form 1040X, do I need to include my IP PIN?
- If I file an extension to file Form 4868, do I need to include my IP PIN?
- Will I get my refund faster if I use my IP PIN?
- Will using my IP PIN prohibit me from getting a Refund Anticipation Loan?
- If I lose my IP PIN, would it allow other people access to my tax information?
A1: The IRS IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. We send new IP PINs each year in late December or early January by postal mail.
If we assigned you an IP PIN, you must use it to confirm your identity on your current federal tax return and any delinquent tax returns filed during the current calendar year.
Don’t confuse the IRS 6-digit IP PIN with the 5-digit e-File PIN; they’re not the same and can’t be used in place of one another. For additional information, please refer to Question 13.
A2: The IP PIN acts as an authentication number to validate the correct owner of the Social Security number(s) listed on your tax return.
- If an IP PIN is not entered correctly, we’ll reject the return and you’ll need to enter the correct IP PIN to e-File it again. If you lost the IP PIN or didn’t receive one in the mail, visit Retrieve Your IP PIN.
- If you have an IP PIN, you’re the primary taxpayer, and you fail to enter your IP PIN correctly, 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. Note: Secondary taxpayer and/or dependent IP PINs are not entered on paper tax returns.
A3: We send new IP PINs in December and early January each year to eligible taxpayers. If we issued you an IP PIN and you lost it or you didn't receive a new one in the mail, you’ll need to obtain your IP PIN before you can e-file your return. You can get your current IP PIN by using the Get an IP PIN application. If you previously created an account, go to Get an IP PIN and log in to your account with your username and password. You may be required to verify your identity again due to our increased account security. Follow the prompts to get your current IP PIN.
If you're unable to retrieve your IP PIN online, you may call us at 800-908-4490 for specialized assistance, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time), to have your IP PIN reissued to you. An assistor will verify your identity and mail your IP PIN to your address of record within 21 days.
A4: You'll get an IP PIN if you meet one of the following criteria as a victim of tax-related identity theft:
- You received an IP PIN last year, or
- You received a CP01A notice, or
- You received an IRS letter or notice inviting you to opt-in to get an IP PIN, or
- You can opt-in if you filed your last tax return as a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia.
A5: No. If only one spouse receives an IP PIN, the other spouse doesn’t need an IP PIN in order to file their joint return.
- If the primary taxpayer (first SSN on the return) has an IP PIN, they must enter that IP PIN when filing their joint return.
- If only the secondary taxpayer receives an IP PIN, they must enter that IP PIN if e-Filing. When filing a paper return, the secondary spouse can’t and isn’t required to enter their IP PIN.
A6: This will depend on whether you e-File or complete a paper return.
- Each taxpayer who has an IP PIN must enter it on the electronic tax return.
- Only the primary taxpayer who is listed first on the return needs to enter their IP PIN. Note: Although the IP PIN of the secondary taxpayer (spouse) isn’t used on the paper return, their undisclosed IP PIN prevents the filing of another return using their SSN as the primary taxpayer.
- Back to FAQs -
Q7: Paper form 1040 only provides a place to put the primary taxpayer’s IP PIN. If I’m married filing jointly and only my spouse (second SSN on the return) has an IP PIN, should we file with my spouse as primary on the tax return and input his or her IP PIN?
A7: No. If only the secondary SSN (spouse) on a tax return has an IP PIN due to a previous tax-related identity theft incident, and you’re filing a paper return, you don’t 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 spouse's IP PIN.
Note: Although the IP PIN of the secondary taxpayer (spouse) isn’t used on a paper return, their undisclosed IP PIN prevents the filing of another return using their SSN as the primary taxpayer.
A8: In this situation, at least one SSN on your return has an IP PIN requirement and you'll need to include the IP PIN on your tax return.
- If you, your spouse (if married filing jointly), or dependent had an IP PIN assigned prior to the filing season, it needs to be included on your return.
- If you don't know the IP PIN necessary to file, check the return reject code to see whether the IP PIN requirement belongs to you, your spouse, or your dependent (as applicable). You'll need to retrieve that IP PIN prior to resubmitting your e-File return.
Visit Retrieve Your IP PIN for additional information.
A9: Your identity theft case may not have been resolved prior to our issuance of new IP PINs in late December or early January or you moved prior to late December and didn’t notify us.
If we assigned you an IP PIN, you'll need to Retrieve Your IP PIN to ‘e-file’ your tax return this year. You’ll know we assigned you an IP PIN if your e-filed return is rejected because it was missing an IP PIN.
A10: Your 6-digit IP PIN is located on page one at the bottom of the left hand side of the CP01A notice.
A11: This is determined by the method you use to file, electronic or paper.
- Your tax software or practitioner will tell you where to enter the 6-digit IP PIN. 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.
- Each taxpayer claimed on a tax return who receives an IP PIN must have their IP PIN(s) entered on the tax return. This includes the IP PIN of any dependent(s) included in the tax return, if applicable.
- If you claim a dependent who receives an IP PIN, you must enter it on the 'Form 1040 series' as well as 'Form 2441' and 'Schedule Earned Income Tax Credit'. For more information, please see Question 23.
- Only the primary taxpayer listed first on the tax return needs to enter their 6-digit IP PIN.
- Enter your IP PIN in the box marked ‘Identity Protection PIN’ located within the ‘Sign Here’ section of your tax return.
Note: A spouse’s IP PIN, when filing a paper return, protects both accounts even though it isn’t entered.
A12: Yes. You must use your current IP PIN on any delinquent form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS returns filed during the current calendar year.
A13: No. You can’t use an e-File signature PIN instead of an IP PIN. If you have an ‘IP PIN’ and are e-Filing, you’ll need to input each PIN in its correct field.
A14: Our records show you were previously the victim of identity theft; or you were identified by the IRS as a possible victim of tax-related identity theft; or you participated in the pilot program for residents of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia. We use this IP PIN to authenticate your identity when you file current and delinquent form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS tax returns during the current calendar year.
A15: No. The main purpose of the IP PIN is to add an additional layer of protection to taxpayers who live in the top-three geographic areas where tax-related identity theft is most prevalent.
Q16: I heard that taxpayers who filed a tax return last year with an address in Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia could get an IP PIN to protect their tax account. How do I get an IP PIN if this applies to me?
A16: 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 Get An IP PIN application, you won’t be able to get an IP PIN. In that case, you should file your return without an IP PIN.
A18: You can check the “Where’s My Refund?” or use 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.
A19: 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.
A20: No. We'll provide you with a new IP PIN every year before the start of the tax season.
A21: We send the CP01A notice in late December or early January to taxpayers eligible to receive an IP PIN.
A22: 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’re 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 cause your return to 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.
A23: This is determined by how you file.
E-File Return: Yes. As of January 1, 2016, if you claim one or more dependents that have an IP PIN, you must enter their IP PIN on the following e-File tax forms:
- Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return, series
- Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses
- Schedule Earned Income Credit
Your e-File return will be rejected if you fail to enter a dependent’s IP PIN.
Note: If someone can claim you on their tax return as a dependent and you have an IP PIN, you must share your IP PIN with them if they e-File.
Paper Return: No. You don’t need to enter an IP PIN for your dependent(s) when filing a paper tax return.
A24: 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.
A25: No. The IRS IP PIN is only used for your federal income tax Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040PR/SS. Don't include your IP PIN on your state return.
A26: No. The IP PIN isn’t 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.
A27: Most people will continue to receive an IP PIN every year.
A28: If you received an IRS issued notice or letter in the last 12 months saying your tax 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 us for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490 or visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center to identify whether an IP PIN was issued to you. Note: The telephone 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.
A29: 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, doesn’t allow for input of an IP PIN.
A30: No, the Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return, doesn’t allow for input of an IP PIN.
When you’re ready to file your tax return, simply use your current IP PIN on your Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040PR or 1040SS at that time.
A31: How quickly you receive your refund depends on your individual return information. If you include your IP PIN when filing, your return will be subject to the same validity checks as other returns not requiring an IP PIN.
See Where's My Refund? for more information on the status of your refund.
A32: The IP PIN issued by the IRS has no effect on your ability to obtain a refund anticipation loan (RAL). We only use the IP PIN to validate your identity and process your federal income tax return.
A33: No. The IP PIN doesn't allow anyone to contact the IRS to access your tax information. You’re encouraged to keep your IP PIN in a safe location until it is time to prepare your tax return.