ATL-2016-11, Jan. 26, 2016
ATLANTA – As part of an ongoing pilot program, all taxpayers who filed federal returns last year from Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia are eligible for an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) that will help protect them from tax-related identity theft, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The pilot project is part of broader IRS efforts to combat tax-related identity theft. The IRS has an aggressive, multi-part strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. Stopping identity theft and refund fraud is a top priority for the IRS.
For the 2016 filing season, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are working closely to improve taxpayer protections. The IP PIN pilot is just one safeguard underway. The IRS, state tax agencies and industry also have a “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign to increase awareness about steps taxpayers can take to help protect their identities.
To read about other safeguards and additional steps taxpayer should take, see IRS.gov/taxessecuritytogether.
Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia were chosen for the IRS pilot because they have higher levels of tax-related identity theft.
The IP PIN is a six-digit number that must be used on a tax return, in addition to the Social Security number, to verify the taxpayers’ identity. Once a taxpayer opts into this program, they will need to use an IP PIN for future year filings. At this time, there is no way to opt out of the program once you sign up for an IP PIN. A new IP PIN will be mailed to the taxpayer each year before the filing season, and the current IP PIN must be used on the tax return before it will be accepted by the IRS for processing.
To opt into the program taxpayers who qualify should visit IRS.gov/getanippin, to register and create an account. Taxpayers must also verify their identity as part of the process. You can get an IP Pin immediately even if you plan to file later in the year.
Once issued an IP PIN, taxpayers need to use it to confirm their identities on all federal income tax returns filed during the 2016 calendar year. Taxpayers will receive a new IP PIN by postal mail each year.
Eligibility for this program does not mean the taxpayers are already victims of identity theft. The main purpose of the program is to add an additional layer of protection to taxpayers who live in areas where tax-related identity theft is more prevalent.
For those taxpayers that already held an IP PIN, please note that due to an error, taxpayers have received Identity Protection PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. Taxpayers and tax professionals should be advised the IP PIN listed on the CP 01A Notice dated Jan. 4, 2016, is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in 2016.
The notice incorrectly indicates the IP PIN issued is to be used for filing the 2014 tax return when the number is actually to be used for the 2015 tax return. The IRS emphasizes the IP PIN listed on the CP 01A notice is valid for the 2015 returns. Taxpayers and their tax professionals should use this PIN number for 2015 tax returns, which the IRS will begin accepting from taxpayers starting Jan. 19, 2016.
The IRS began mailing follow-up notices to these taxpayers in mid-January noting that the IP PIN they received is still valid despite the incorrect reference to the year.