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How to Get an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS

An Identity Protection PIN from the IRS can help protect your tax return from potential fraud.
Alana Benson
By Alana Benson 
Updated
Edited by Arielle O'Shea

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Identity theft and tax refund fraud are issues no one wants to spend time thinking about. But everyone should: Untangling the mess a fraudster leaves behind can take months, or even years, so taking precautions to protect your identity now is well worth it. The IRS has made taking those precautions easier by making Identity Protection PINs available to all U.S. taxpayers.

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What is an IRS IP PIN?

An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number given to you by the IRS to prevent anyone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number. Once you receive an IP PIN, you’ll need to use it when you file your taxes. Your IP PIN should be shared only with your tax professional or when you file using tax software.

According to the IRS, an IP PIN will help secure your account: Electronic returns without the right IP PIN will be rejected, and paper returns will be subject to additional fraud checks.

Who can get an IP PIN from the IRS?

IP PINs used to only be available in certain states, but the IRS expanded the program nationwide in 2021. All individual taxpayers can opt in to voluntarily receive an IP PIN. Spouses and dependents can also receive IP PINs as long as they pass the identification process.

How to get an IP PIN

1. Create an account if you don’t already have one. To create an account on the IRS website via ID.me self-service, you’ll need the following:

  • ​​Your Social Security number.

  • Your email address.

  • A photo ID (such as your passport, diver’s license or state ID). 

  • A phone or computer with photo and video capabilities.

If at any point in this process the IRS can’t verify your information, you can skip to step three for alternative ways to apply.

2. Use the online tool to get an IP PIN. After you create an online account, use the “Get an IP Pin” button on the IRS website to register for a PIN. You can access the IP PIN tool from mid-January through mid-November

Internal Revenue Service. Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). Accessed Nov 8, 2023.
. Once you receive it, your IP PIN is valid for one calendar year.

If your identity has been stolen before and the IRS resolved the issues with your tax account, it will mail you a CP01A Notice with a new IP PIN each year.

3. Apply another way. If the IRS has an issue verifying your identity through the online tool, you can apply by mail, by fax or in person.

To apply by mail or fax you will need:

  • A Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.

  • An adjusted gross income of below $73,000 for individuals (or $146,000 for those married filing jointly).

  • Access to a phone.

If you meet those qualifications, you can mail or fax Form 15227 to the IRS. The IRS will then contact you via phone, validate your identity and assign you an IP PIN by mail within four to six weeks.

To apply in person, you will need:

  • One picture identification document.

  • One additional identification document.

Make an appointment for an in-person meeting at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. After your identity has been verified, you’ll receive your IP PIN in the mail within three weeks.

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Frequently asked questions about IRS IP PINs

What do I do if I lose my IP PIN?

If you lost your IP PIN, you can use the same IP PIN tool you used to apply for your PIN on the IRS website to retrieve it. If you can’t retrieve your IP PIN online, you can call the IRS at 800-908-4490 to have your IP PIN reissued.

Can I file my taxes without an IP PIN?

Yes. Since the IP PIN is voluntary, you do not need to have one to file your taxes. If you already have an IP PIN, you will need it to file.

What other ways can I protect my identity?

To further protect your identity, you can freeze your credit, which prevents any new credit from being opened in your name. You can also set up fraud alerts, which add an extra layer of scrutiny to your credit applications.

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