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IRS Encourages Tax Pros to Convince Clients to Use Identity Protection Program

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Jul 20, 2022


The IRS—along with state tax agencies and representatives of the tax industry—announced an effort to encourage tax professionals to step up their efforts to let clients know about the IRS Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program as a safeguard against identity theft. Working together as the Security Summit, these partners said they need the help of tax professionals to get the message out that IP PINs are now available to taxpayers who can verify their identity. 

The Summit partners are planning a five-part weekly summer series to highlight critical steps that tax professionals can take to protect client data—and their businesses. The series is an effort to urge tax professionals to intensify efforts to secure their systems and protect client data during the summer and throughout the year. Each alert will be issued on a Tuesday to coincide with the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums, which helps educate tax professionals on security and other important topics. 

"These identity protection numbers provide an extra layer of safety to protect people against tax-related fraud tied to using stolen personal information," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Following work by the IRS, the IP PIN program is now available to anyone who can verify their identity. We urge tax professionals to encourage their clients to protect themselves through the IP PIN program." 

The IRS noted that for security reasons, tax professionals cannot obtain an IP PIN on behalf of clients. Taxpayers must obtain their own IP PIN. 

The agency listed a few pieces of information that taxpayers should know about the IP PIN: 

• It's a six-digit number known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. 

• The opt-in program is voluntary. 

• The IP PIN should be entered onto the electronic tax return when prompted by the software product or onto a paper return next to the signature line. 

• The IP PIN is valid for one calendar year; taxpayers must obtain a new IP PIN each year. 

• Only taxpayers who can verify their identities may obtain an IP PIN. 

• IP PIN users should never share their number with anyone but the IRS and their trusted tax preparation provider. The IRS will never call, email or text a request for the IP PIN. 

The best option for taxpayers who want to receive an IP PIN is the Get an IP PIN, the IRS online tool. Taxpayers must validate their identities through Secure Access authentication to access the tool and their IP PIN. Before attempting this rigorous process, taxpayers should consult Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools.

The IRS also noted that if taxpayers are unable to validate their identity online and if their income is below $73,000 for individuals or below $146,000 for married couples, they may file Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. The IRS will call the telephone number provided on that form to validate their identity. However, for security reasons, the IRS will assign an IP PIN for the next filing season. The IP PIN cannot be used for the current filing season. 

Taxpayers who cannot validate their identities online, or on the phone with an IRS employee after submitting a Form 15227, or who are ineligible to file a Form 15227 may call the IRS to make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. They will need to bring one picture identification document and another identification document to prove their identity. Once verified, the taxpayer will receive an IP PIN via U.S. Postal Service within three weeks. 

The IRS noted that the IP PIN process for confirmed victims of identity theft hasn't changed. These victims will automatically receive an IP PIN each year.

The IRS also recommended the following resources: 

Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals Identity Theft Central  
Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals 

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