IRS PIN program helps fight tax refund fraud

Every year, millions of taxpayers unwittingly have their identity used by criminals who file false tax returns in their names. Using stolen social security numbers and birth dates, the criminals file returns and reap billions of dollars, and often innocent taxpayers don’t even know their identity has been used until they file their own, legitimate return.

Florida leads in this kind of criminal activity but there is a way to help guard your IRS information. This year, once again, the IRS is offering the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) to all taxpayers who filed their federal tax returns last year from Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. It’s all part of a pilot program to help the IRS determine taxpayer demand for the IP PIN. These states have been chosen for the pilot because they have the highest per-capita percentage of tax-related identity theft.

The IP PIN is a six-digit number that must be used on the tax return, in addition to the Social Security number, to verify the taxpayers’ identity. Once a taxpayer opts into this program, an IP PIN must be used for all future filings.  At this time, there is no way to opt out of the program.

A new IP PIN will be mailed to the taxpayer each year before tax filing season, and must be used on the tax return before it is accepted for processing.

If the IP PIN is missing or incorrect, you are not able to e-File and must file a paper return. Filing a paper return without a required IP PIN means your return will take longer to process while the IRS validates the information. This increased validation is for your protection, and it will delay any refund you may be due.

The program is not limited to identity theft victims. The main purpose of the program is to add an additional layer of protection for taxpayers in high fraud states.

To take advantage of this program visit www.irs.gov/getanippin to register and create an account. Once taxpayer identity is verified a PIN will be issued.