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IRS Identity Protection PIN

December 7, 2011

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Later this month, the IRS will be sending letters out to approximately 250,000 taxpayers that contains their 6-digit “Identity Protection PIN.” Taxpayers will receive this letter because they have informed the IRS that they were the victims of identity theft which the IRS has confirmed after reviewing documentation provided by the taxpayer.

The Identity Protection PIN must be entered on the affected taxpayer’s Federal return in order to avoid a delay in processing the return and receipt of their refund.

If you learn that one of your customers has been a victim of identity theft, you should ask them if they received a letter from the IRS. If they have, ask them to bring it with them when they come in to have their 2011 Federal return prepared.

Things to know about the Identity Protection PIN:

  • If the taxpayer received an Identity Protection PIN and it is not entered on their return, the IRS will reject the return if it is filed electronically.

  • The Identity Protection PIN received by the taxpayer this month is only valid for use on their TY 2011 return.

  • For an affected taxpayer, if the Identity Protection PIN is entered incorrectly, the processing of their return will be delayed.

  • If the taxpayer misplaces their letter and cannot remember their Identity Protection PIN, they cannot obtain a new one from the IRS. In this case, they will have to file their return on paper and the processing of their return will be delayed while the IRS validates that the return filed is the taxpayer’s.

  • If both the taxpayer and spouse receive an Identity Protection PIN, only the taxpayer’s should be entered on the return.

  • When the Identity Protection PIN is entered in the CrossLink program, the PIN will be transmitted to the IRS as part of Form 1040. It will also print on Form 1040 in the area designated for this purpose in the signature area of Form 1040.

  • An affected taxpayer will receive a unique 6-digit PIN each year for 3 years following verification by the IRS.

  • The Identity Protection PIN should not be confused with the 5-digit taxpayer/spouse electronic self-select PIN.

Read more about the IRS Identity Protection PIN program.

If one of your customers informs you that they have been a victim of identity theft and they have not contacted the IRS you should do one of the following:

  • See the IRS Identity Theft website.

    This site contains information such as what documents the IRS requires the taxpayer to submit for the IRS to validate their claim, where to send the information, and how the taxpayer can contact the IRS Identity Protection unit; or

  • Have the taxpayer contact the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490. Their hours of operation are Monday – Friday
    8:00 am – 8:00 pm your local time.

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