ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers to get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) to protect their tax returns and keep thieves from stealing their tax refunds.

An IP PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your social security number. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS and helps them verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return.

Certified public accountant David Young discussed the process of getting an IP PIN from the IRS with NEWS10’s sister station in Rochester on Wednesday.


If you are a confirmed victim of identity theft and have resolved your tax account issues with the IRS, you will be mailed a CP01A Notice with your IP PIN each year. Starting in 2021, you may voluntarily opt-in to the IP PIN program as a proactive way to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.

If you want to opt-in, please note:

  • You must pass a rigorous identity verification process
  • Spouses and dependents are eligible for an IP PIN if they can pass the identity proofing process

How to get an IP PIN

If you’re a confirmed victim of identity theft, the IRS will mail you an IP PIN on a CP01A Notice if your case is resolved prior to the start of the next filing season. If you’re volunteering for the IP PIN Opt-In Program you should use the online Get an IP PIN tool. If you don’t already have an account on, you must register to validate your identity. Before you register, read about the secure access identity authentication process.

An IP PIN is valid for one calendar year, so you have to get a new one each year. The IP PIN tool is generally unavailable from mid-November through mid-January each year.

If you’ve already registered for an IP PIN, or have one of the following accounts, you should log in with the same username and password:

  • Get Transcript
  • Online Account
  • Online Payment Agreement

Lost IP PINs

If you receive the annual IP PIN via mail but lose or fail to receive your CP01A Notice, you may use the “Get an IP PIN” tool to retrieve your number. Do not file Form 15227 to apply for a new IP PIN.

How to use an IP PIN

Enter the six-digit IP PIN when prompted by your tax software product or provide it to your trusted tax professional preparing your tax return.

Correct IP PINs must be entered on electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections and delays. An incorrect or missing IP PIN will result in the rejection of your e-filed return or a delay of your paper return until it can be verified.

Don’t reveal your IP PIN to anyone. It should be known only to your tax professional and only when you are ready to sign and submit your return. The IRS will never ask for your IP PIN. Any phone calls, emails, or texts asking for your number are scams.