Individual taxpayers who filed 2017 federal income tax returns reporting an address in either California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, or Rhode Island are now eligible to request an identity protection PIN (“IP PIN”) from the IRS to use when they file their 2018 federal income tax return.
The IP PIN program enables the IRS to verify a taxpayer’s identity when the tax return is filed. The program was originally limited to taxpayers who were confirmed victims of identity theft, but has subsequently expanded to allow tax filers in the District of Columbia, Florida, and Georgia to request an IP PIN regardless of whether the taxpayer had been victims of identity theft. Because of Federal Trade Commission reports designating the highest number of identity thefts in the seven states listed previously, the IRS has expanded the IP PIN program to tax filers in those states as well.
Eligibility is based upon the taxpayer’s filing address so taxpayers in any of the listed states may voluntarily request an IP PIN. Merely filing a non-resident return in any of those states will not grant eligibility. Newly eligible taxpayers must first confirm their identity using both government-issued information and financial data using the IRS’s Secure Access online tool.
Once the IRS verifies the taxpayer’s identity, the taxpayer may request an IP PIN and the IRS will then provide a six-digit number to use when the tax return is filed. This number, which is reissued annually, prevents anyone other than the taxpayer from using the taxpayer’s Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return.
Once an IP PIN is requested, the taxpayer must use it for all future filings.
There is growing support for extending the voluntary IP PIN program to taxpayers in every state. However, until the IRS’s systems are fully equipped to handle a widespread IP PIN program, the program will remain limited to victims of identity theft and to taxpayers in the listed states.