In this digital age, identity theft related to tax fraud is an unfortunate reality. An IP PIN (Identity Protection Personal Identification Number) is a six-digit code assigned by the IRS to eligible taxpayers. This code is meant to prevent the misuse of your Social Security Number on fraudulent federal income tax returns.

If the IRS assigns an IP PIN to you, it means they believe you may be at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Using an IP PIN verifies your identity, as only returns and refund claims with your correct IP PIN will be processed. It also provides added security by adding an extra layer of protection against fraudulent returns that might be filed using your SSN.

Since your IP PIN is an additional security measure, when you have one, it must be used when filing your taxes.  Additionally, your tax software and your accountant cannot retrieve your IP PIN if you’ve forgotten it.  It’s important to remember that you’ll receive a new IP PIN each year, and you should use the latest one issued.

Advantages of having an IRS account

Establishing an IRS online account not only ensures you get your IP PIN but also unlocks a host of other benefits:

  • Instant Insights: Quickly view your tax obligations, payment records, and any refund details without the delay of traditional postal services.
  • Immediate Access to Transcripts: Need your tax history for tasks like mortgage applications? Access comprehensive tax and income records from previous years without delay.
  • Digital Tax Notifications: Both you, as a taxpayer, and your CPA can simultaneously view digital notices, streamlining issue resolution and return preparation.
  • Optimized User Experience: From updating contact details to arranging payment methods, all can be managed within your IRS online account.

How to set up your IP PIN

Follow these steps to request an IP PIN from the IRS:

1. Get the following essential information together: Social Security number, birthdate, filing status, and a two-year address history.

2. Go to and select “Get an IP PIN”, which will redirect you to the ID Verification Service.

3. Set up an IDVerify account or use an existing third-party account. Follow the steps, including submitting personal and social security details.

4. Acknowledge and agree to the IRS IP PIN Consent form, giving the IRS permission to issue the pin.

5. Submit an email or mobile number for authentication purposes or to get a security code.

6. Answer a set of security questions about past residences or owned vehicles.

7. If required, upload authentic and unaltered identity proofs like your driver’s license, passport, or Social Security card.

8. In approximately 15 business days, you’ll receive your IP PIN by mail. 

9. Remember, your IP Pin changes annually, so a new PIN will be sent via mail to you roughly three weeks before each tax season begins.

10. Confidentiality is key. Only disclose your IP PIN to your CPA or those assisting with your tax preparations. In the event of loss or theft, inform the IRS immediately.

Embrace a small hassle to prevent a big headache

Though the idea of establishing IRS accounts or navigating through IP PIN protocols may feel overwhelming, the digital convenience and reinforced security are well worth the effort. 

As the tax landscape evolves, so does the nature of threats against taxpayers. Tools like IP PINs and IRS online accounts are valuable assets in your security toolkit. Your identity is worth protecting. A minor hassle to set up additional security can prevent the major headaches that come with a stolen identity.