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Tips for Successfully Authenticating Your Identity through Secure Access

Secure Access is a rigorous identity authentication process intended to protect taxpayer data and IRS systems. This is a strong verification process based on identity proofing, financial verification and mobile phone verification. You must have a text-enabled mobile phone.

Before beginning the registration process, please review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools. It provides a step-by-step overview of the registration process.

Here are a few tips to help successfully register:

  • Use a readily available email address. This may be either a personal or business email address that you can access as you are going through the registration process. You will be sent a confirmation code to that email address. If you do not see it immediately, check your spam folder.
  • As part of the identity proofing section, Secure Access requires your name, Social Security number, date of birth, filing status and address used on your last filed tax return. Use the address on your last filed tax return even if you have moved. Your entries for this portion of  Secure Access must match the information on your last filed tax return exactly.
  • As part of the financial verification process, you must provide either your personal credit card number (last eight digits) or account numbers for home mortgage, home equity mortgage, home equity line of credit or car loan. The vast majority of people use the last eight digits of a personal credit card. It cannot be American Express, a debit card or a corporate card issued in your name by your company or organization. The IRS does not retain this information. Your personal financial information is used only to help verify your identity.
  • As part of the mobile phone verification process, there are certain requirements your mobile phone must meet to complete the registration process in one session. The mobile phone must be U.S.-based, text-enabled and associated with your name, i.e. either your name or address is on the phone bill/account.
  • As an alternative for those who lack a mobile phone associated with their names, users can opt for an activation code by mail. The code will be mailed to the most recent address IRS has on file. Users will still need a text-enabled mobile phone. It may be a U.S.-based business mobile phone or a pay-as-you-go mobile phone, for example. Google Voice is the only virtual phone supported. The mobile phone number must be unique to you; it cannot be used for multiple accounts.
  • Those who opt for an Activation Code by Mail will still need a text-enabled mobile phone. Users will enter the activation code and enter the telephone number of a text-enabled mobile phone. A security code will immediately be sent to the phone. The user must enter this security code to complete the registration process
  • About the email/text codes:
    • A one-time confirmation code is sent to your email address at the beginning of the registration process to confirm your name and email address. You must enter it to start the authentication process. This code is valid for 15 minutes.
    • A one-time activation code is sent as a text to your mobile phone to complete its validation. You must enter it at the activation code  to validate your mobile phone. This code is valid for 10 minutes.
    • An alternative is a one-time activation code by mail which is sent to your most recent address on file with the IRS. You must enter the activation code received in the mail to validate your mobile phone. This code is valid for 30 days.
    • A new six-digit security code is sent as a text to the mobile phone each time you login to e-services, and it must be entered to complete the login process.  Each code is valid for 10 minutes.
  • Return to Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 01-Dec-2016