IR-2022-78, April 11, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded all taxpayers – particularly those who are identity theft victims – of an important step they should take to protect themselves from tax fraud.
Some identity thieves use taxpayers' information to file fraudulent tax returns. By requesting Identity Protection PINs from the Get an IP PIN tool on IRS.gov, taxpayers can prevent thieves from claiming tax refunds in their names.
An IP PIN is a six-digit number the IRS assigns to an individual to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on federal income tax returns. The IP PIN protects the taxpayer's account, even if they're no longer required to file a tax return, by rejecting any e-filed return without the taxpayer's IP PIN
Taxpayers should request an IP PIN:
Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/getanippin to complete a thorough authentication check. Once authentication is complete, an IP PIN will be provided online immediately. A new IP PIN is generated every year for added security. Once an individual is enrolled in the IP PIN program, there's no way to opt-out.
The IRS may automatically assign an IP PIN if the IRS determines the taxpayer's a victim of tax-related identity theft. The taxpayer will receive a notification confirming the tax-related ID theft incident along with an assigned IP PIN for future tax-return filings.
Taxpayers will either receive a notice with their new IP PIN every year in early January for the next filing season or they must retrieve their IP PIN by going to IRS.gov.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayer's stolen SSN to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. In the vast majority of tax-related identity theft cases, the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return and pulls the suspicious return for review. The IRS then sends a letter to the taxpayer and won't process the tax return until the taxpayer responds.
Depending on the situation, the taxpayer will receive one of three letters asking them to verify their identity:
If the taxpayer receives any of these letters, they don't need to file an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). Instead, they should follow the instructions in the letter.
If a taxpayer hasn't heard from the IRS but suspects tax-related identity theft, they should complete and submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Signs of possible tax-related identity theft include:
The IRS will work to verify the legitimate taxpayer, clear the fraudulent return from the taxpayer's account and, generally, place a special marker on the account that will generate an IP PIN each year for the taxpayer who is a confirmed victim.
For information about tax-related identity theft, see Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance and IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works on IRS.gov. The Federal Trade Commission website also includes information about tax-related identity theft.
Non-tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses stolen or lost personal identifiable information (PII) to open credit cards, obtain mortgages, buy a car or open other accounts without their victim's knowledge.
Potential evidence of non-tax-related identity theft can include:
Victims of non-tax-related identity theft don't need to report these incidents to the IRS but should take steps to protect against the type of identity theft they've experienced.