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Understanding Your CP01A Notice

This notice tells you about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) we sent you.


Each year, we issue CP01A notices that have a unique 6-digit IP PIN and instructions on how to use it. We send this notice to taxpayers meeting the following criteria:

  • You reported to us that you are a victim of identity theft,
  • We identified you as a victim of identity theft, or
  • You participated in our IP PIN pilot for residents of Florida, Georgia, or the District of Columbia.

What you need to do when filing Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS

You must enter your 6-digit IP PIN in the correct place on your federal tax return:

  • Electronic Returns (Caution: See additional joint filing rules below)
    • Your tax software or practitioner will tell you where to enter the IP PIN.
    • Due to software variations, we don’t know the location of the IP PIN within every product. If you can’t find where to enter your IP PIN, use the search feature in your software to look for Identity Protection PIN or IP PIN. You can also contact the software provider’s help desk.
    • Don't confuse the 6-digit IP PIN with the 5-digit e-file PIN; these PINS aren't interchangable.
    • If your state also issues an identity protect PIN, make sure it is used for the state tax return only.
  • Paper Returns
    • Enter the IP PIN for the first taxpayer listed on the tax return in the box marked ‘Identity Protection PIN’ located to the right of Spouse’s signature and occupation.
  • Amended Returns, Extensions and Installment Agreements
    You don't need an IP PIN to file:
    • Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return;
    • Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return; or
    • Form 433-D, Installment Agreement.

If you are filing a joint return using Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040 PR/SS

  • Electronic Returns
    • Every taxpayer who receives an IP PIN must enter it on the return, this includes the primary taxpayer, spouse, and dependent.
      • If only one taxpayer receives an IP PIN, enter it with that taxpayer’s SSN.
      • If both taxpayers receive an IP PIN, both taxpayers must enter the IP PIN with their SSN.
      • If your dependent has an IP PIN assigned prior to the filing season, you must include his or her IP PIN on your federal tax return.
  • Paper Returns
    • Only the first taxpayer listed on the tax return must enter their IP PIN.

Note: The spouse’s IP PIN still protects the joint account, even though it’s not on the paper return.

Important things to remember about your IP PIN

  • Don’t reveal your IP PIN to anyone other than your tax preparer. Reveal it only when you are ready to sign and submit your federal income tax return.
  • You must use your IP PIN on your 2015 federal income tax return or.
    • The IRS will reject electronically-filed returns.
    • The processing time may increase for paper returns, which would delay and refund you may be due.
  • Your IP PIN is valid only for federal income tax returns; if your state issues similar PINs use only for state income tax returns. The PINs are not interchangeable.
  • We’ll send you a new IP PIN each December/January by postal mail.
  • Store the CP01A letter securely with your tax records.

If you're filing prior year returns

You must use your latest IP PIN on any delinquent 2014, 2013 or 2012 Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040PR/SS returns you may file in calendar year 2016.

If you misplace your IP PIN

Visit the Retrieve Your Lost or Misplaced IP PINs page for instructions on how to recover your original IP PIN or request a replacement.

Answers to Common Questions

We have complete answers to questions you might have about the IP PIN process on our Frequently Asked Questions about the IP PIN page.



Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 19-Oct-2016

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