Are you worried about possible identity theft? IRS’ Opt-In Program to Protect Against Identity Theft

January 23, 2020 – In response to the increase of identity theft, the IRS has come up with the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (or IP PIN) Opt-In Program. An IP PIN is a 6-digit number that can be assigned to you if you qualify. It provides you with a way to prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns with your Social Security number (SSN) by identity thieves, by helping to verify your identity to the IRS and assisting them in accepting your electronic or paper tax returns for processing.

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How do you get an IP PIN?

First, you must qualify. Starting in the 2020 filing season, you are eligible if you have filed a federal return in the following states:

  • Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhoda Island, Texas and Washington
  • Additional locations will be eligible later in 2020.

Next, you must register to receive an IP PIN. To do so, you must do the following:

  • Go to
  • Make sure to have the following identity verification items:
    • Email address
    • SSN or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Tax filing state and mailing address
    • One financial account number linked to your name:
      • Credit Card – last 8 digits (no American Express, debit, or corporate cards)
      • Student loan
      • Mortgage or home equity loan
      • Home equity line of credit
      • Auto loan
    • A Mobile phone or other ability to receive an activation code by mail

Some additional facts about the program:

An IP PIN is only valid for one calendar year so you must obtain a new IP PIN each year.

The program is unavailable mid-November through mid-January each year.

Spouses and dependents are also eligible for an IP PIN if they pass the identity process as well.

Keep in mind that if you do choose to obtain an IP PIN, you must provide it to your tax preparer as they will not be able to file your return without it.

If you wish to learn more, contact your Client Service Coordinator or Caton Charleston at

About the Author

Caton Charleston

Caton provides tax planning consulting services to a variety of individual and corporate clients.


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