FAQs about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN)
Frequently Asked Questions
- What's an IP PIN?
- Who’s eligible for an IRS 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’re married and filing a joint return. How do we use/enter the IP PIN if ‘one’ or ‘both’ of us have one?
- 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 IP PIN(s) on my tax return?
- Do I have to use the IP PIN I received this year if filing prior year returns this year?
- Can I use my IP PIN to validate my e-file return or do I also need to enter my prior-year self-select PIN or AGI?
- Why did I receive an IP PIN?
- If I participate in the IP PIN Pilot and 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 anyone?
- Do I include my dependent's IRS issued IP PIN on my federal tax return?
- Should I include my IP PIN on Forms such as the 1040X, Amended Return, Form 4868, Automatic Filing Extension, or when I file my state tax 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’re the victim of identity theft be issued an IP PIN?
- Will I get my refund faster if I use my IP PIN?
- Will 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 any return filed during the current calendar year. This includes current year returns as well as any delinquent tax returns.
An IP PIN is used only on Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040PR and 1040SS. If you’re a spouse with an IP PIN, please refer to Question 6. If your dependent has an IP PIN, please refer to Question 22.
A2: You're eligible for an IP PIN if:
- We sent you a CP01A Notice containing your IP PIN, or
- You filed your federal tax return last year as a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia, or
- You received an IRS letter inviting you to 'opt-in' to get an IP PIN.
A3: 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 isn’t 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: The IP PIN(s) of a secondary taxpayer and/or dependent aren’t entered on your paper tax returns.
A4: 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.
A5: 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.
A6: This depends on whether you e-File or mail us a paper return.
- Each taxpayer who has an IP PIN must enter it with their SSN on the electronic tax return when prompted by the software to do so
- Only the ‘primary taxpayer’ who’s listed first on the return needs to enter their IP PIN if they have one. There’s no place for the ‘secondary taxpayer’ to enter their IP PIN and they aren’t required to do so.
Note: Although the secondary taxpayer’s IP PIN (spouse) isn’t used on a paper return, it still prevents the SSN that it’s linked to from being used on a return as primary taxpayer.
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.
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: It's located on page one of the CP01A notice at the bottom of the first column.
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 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 22 below.
- Only the primary taxpayer listed first on the tax return needs to enter their 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: The e-file software you use may allow you to bypass entering your prior-year ‘self-select PIN’ or ‘AGI’ fields when you enter your IP PIN. If not, you’ll be prompted to enter one of these fields to validate your e-file return.
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.
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 on the Identity Protection PIN Pilot Program page.
A17: Visit the Where's My Refund? page 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.
A18: After taking either action below, please dispose of the IRS notice in a secure manner.
- If the deceased is required to file a ‘final’ return to report income in their year of death, the IP PIN must be used if their return is e-filed.
- If the deceased isn’t required to file a ‘final’ tax return, no further action is needed.
A19: No. We'll provide you with a new IP PIN every year before the start of the tax season.
A20: We send the CP01A notice in late December or early January to taxpayers eligible to receive an IP PIN.
A21: You’re encouraged to keep your IP PIN in a safe location until it’s time to prepare your tax return.
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.
When calling the IRS or visiting an IRS office, your IP PIN isn’t accepted as proof of your identity.
A22: 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.
A23: No. The IP PIN is only used on federal tax Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and 1040PR/SS.
A24: 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.
A25: Most people will continue to receive an IP PIN every year.
A26: If you received an IRS issued notice or letter in the last 12 months saying your tax account is resolved, an identity theft indicator has been placed on your account. If you didn't receive an IP PIN, you may need to obtain your IP PIN prior to filing.
Contact us for specialized assistance at 800-908-4490 or visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center to determine if you’re an IP PIN recipient. Note: The telephone hours of operation are: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
A27: 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.
A28: No. We only use the IP PIN to validate your identity and process your federal income tax return.
A29: No. The IP PIN doesn't allow anyone to contact the IRS to access your tax information.