IRS Statement on IP PIN


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Updated on Jan. 10, 2017 IP PIN now supported by Secure Access.

March 7, 2016

As part of its ongoing security review, the Internal Revenue Service temporarily suspended the Identity Protection PIN tool on The IRS is conducting a further review of the application that allows taxpayers to retrieve their IP PINs online and is looking at further strengthening the security features on the tool.

Taxpayers received 2.7 million IP PINs by mail for the current filing season. About 5 percent of those — approximately 130,000 — used the online tool to try retrieving a lost or forgotten IP PIN. For taxpayers retrieving a lost IP PIN, the IRS emphasizes it has put strengthened processes and filters in place for this tax season to review these tax returns. These strengthened review procedures — which are invisible to taxpayers — have helped detect potential identity theft and stopped refund fraud. Through the end of February, the IRS had confirmed and stopped 800 fraudulent returns using an IP PIN.

Taxpayers who have been issued an IP PIN should continue to file their tax returns as they normally would. The online tool is primarily used by taxpayers who have lost their IP PINs and need to retrieve their numbers. Most taxpayers receive their IP PIN via mail and never use the online tool.

Guidance for taxpayers using an IP PIN

The IP PIN is a six-digit number that provides an additional layer of protection for taxpayers who have been or could become victims of tax-related identity theft. Taxpayers who receive an IP PIN must use it on electronic and paper returns in order for the returns to be accepted for processing. 

Prior to the 2016 filing season, we mailed 2.7 million CP01A letters with IP PINs.

For certain taxpayers, the online tool was their only alternative to access or retrieve an IP PIN. This includes IP PIN holders who lost their IP PIN letter and needed to retrieve the number, taxpayers participating in our three pilot locations and taxpayers we invite to use IP PIN because they have non-tax identity theft  issues.

For these taxpayers, the IRS offers the following guidance following the removal of the online option:

  • Lost or misplaced IP PIN letters. Taxpayers who are IP PIN holders but who lost their CP01A letters containing the IP PIN will need to call the IRS. If they can verify their identity, they will be mailed their IP PIN. If they have moved since Jan. 1, 2016, they must file a paper tax return, which will receive additional scrutiny and take longer to process because we don’t normally accept these returns without an IP PIN.   
  • Florida, Georgia and District of Columbia participants. Taxpayers who live in Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia and who already have retrieved an IP PIN should include it on their tax returns. Taxpayers in those locations who have not retrieved an IP PIN will be unable to access the tool at this time but may file their tax return as normal.
  • Other taxpayers. Taxpayers who filed a Form 14039 citing non-tax identity theft issues (Box 2) and who already have retrieved an IP PIN should include it on their tax returns.