Posted by Jim McClaflin, EA, NTPI Fellow

Additional Tax Fraud Protection Available through IRS Pilot Program

Additional Tax Fraud Protection Available through IRS Pilot Program

As taxpayers, it is important to understand that every year fraud happens. Individuals attempt to file your return early, essentially stealing your identity and any potential refund that you are owed. Often the only protection is to file early, but if you don’t, the risk of fraud goes up. Additionally, once the fraud has occurred, then you will be put in the position of filing paperwork and struggling to get back your refund. However, two states and Washington D.C., known as hotbeds of this type of fraudulent activity, have additional identity theft options available from the IRS. Working with your tax professional or accountant, such as McClaflinin Grimes, IA, you can determine if you qualify for this additional protection. So what does it involve?

IRS Pilot Program

The IRS offers taxpayers in these areas the ability to essentially apply for a special personal identification number. With this six-digit number, the IRS has essentially created another layer of security for your Social Security number on a Federal income tax return. By applying for this special personal identification number, a taxpayer can put another hurdle in place to make it harder for tax identity thieves to submit paperwork in your name under your Social Security number.

Once you receive your PIN, it will need to be submitted along with your Social Security number on any tax form you file so that the IRS is alerted to review your account with extra caution. Additionally, this PIN will change every year, making it harder for someone who is trying to commit identity fraud to guess your PIN and thus file a false tax return.

The IRS system will actually reject the return if the PIN is incorrect or missing. However, if you submit a paper return with an incorrect or missing PIN, the processing of that return will be delayed and so will your refund while the IRS follow the necessary steps to determine if the refund belongs to you.

Eligibility Requirements

You may be eligible for a PIN if you have had any of the following situations occur:

Victim of Identity Theft – If you have had your identity stolen, but the case has been resolved, then your identity now has an identity theft indicator on it. As a result, the IRS will send you a PIN automatically.

Residence – If you are a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), then you may be eligible to apply for a PIN from the IRS. These areas have been deemed higher risk areas of tax identity fraud.

Opt-In Invitation – The IRS has chosen specific taxpayers to participate in this pilot program. Therefore, if you received a letter inviting you to opt in, then you may apply for a PIN to use when you file your tax return.

How to Get a PIN

For a majority of taxpayers that qualify for a PIN, the IRS will send you a notice with your PIN number for that tax year’s filing. If you have been invited to join the program, then you will need to go the Get an IP Pen page on the IRS website. The program is not limited to those who have suffered from identity theft, but again, if you live in the states noted for high amounts of fraud, then you may apply for a PIN.

If you are already participating in the program, but have lost or did not receive a PIN, then you can visit the IRS webpage to retrieve your PIN or get a new one.

Once you have received your IRS PIN, you need to use it on your forms as part of your return and any delinquent tax returns that you are filing in the current tax year. Your tax preparer should be the only one that you give your PIN to and it is best to reveal it right before you sign the tax return and then submit it.

While this PIN works for your Federal return, but that same PIN cannot be used on your state return. However, if you have already have gotten an IRS PIN, then you may want to apply with your state to receive a PIN specifically for your state return.

For many taxpayers who have dealt with tax identity fraud, this pilot program is one way that the IRS system is attempting to address the issue.

Click on the link below to contact a tax preparer or accountant at Accounting & Tax Professionals in Grimes, IA, who can assist you in applying for a PIN with both the IRS and your state of residence.

Jim McClaflin, EA, NTPI Fellow
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