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Entering Taxpayer/Spouse Authentication and Identity Theft Protection PIN

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Entering Taxpayer/Spouse Authentication and Identity Theft Protection PIN

Tax Years 2015, 2016, and 2017

Taxpayers that have contacted IRS and have been validated as being the victims of identity theft; which has affected their abiliy to file their federal return; are issued an Identity Protection PIN (IPN or IP PIN). The IPN is a unique six digit number which must be entered into Tax Online for filing their tax return. Tax Online has inputs for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents.

Steps to Enter:

  • Open the Input Return screen and select General, then Client Information.
  • Scroll down to the Tax Authentication section
  • Enter the taxpayer's six digit IPN (IP PIN) in the Theft Protection PIN input field.

If this is a Married Filing Joint Return, scroll further down to the Spouse Tax Authentication section.

Enter the Spouse's six digit IPN (IP PIN)  in the Theft Protection PIN input field.

In the event that the dependent also has an IPN (IP PIN), under the General category, select Dependents.

  • Enter the applicable dependent information then scroll down to the bottom of the dependent screen.
  • The IPN is entered in the Theft Protection PIN at the very bottom of the dependent screen.
  • Enter the six digit IPN (IP PIN) for the dependent.

NOTE: Please scroll to the bottom of this screen for instructions for 2014 and Prior Year inputs. 

Additional information:

The following reference information is provided as guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service to tax professionals with regard to identity verification. 

Q1. Why am I being asked for my driver's license number?

A1. In an effort to better protect you from identity thieves, some states will be trying new approaches. Some states may ask for additional identification information, such as your driver's license number, when you are preparing your state tax return. This will be another layer of protection because identity thieves may already have your name and Social Security number, but perhaps not your driver's license number. States requesting this information have the ability to match driver's license information and other identifying records to help confirm your identity.

Q2. Do I need to enter a driver's license to file my Federal Tax return? 

A2. You do not need a driver's license number to file your Federal tax return. Some states may require this information.  The program will generate a diagnostic when the identification is required to electronically file a state return.

Reference:  IRS Publication 1345  sets forth the following guidelines as they relate to identify verification.  This information can be found starting on Page 23 of the document.

See Also:  State Agency Driver's License and State ID Expectations

In-Person Transaction

The ERO must inspect a valid government picture identification; compare picture to applicant; and record the name, social security number, address and date of birth. Verify that the name, social security number, address, date of birth and other personal information on record are consistent with the information provided through record checks with the applicable agency or institution or through credit bureaus or similar databases.

For in-person transactions, the record checks with the applicable agency or institution or through credit bureaus or similar databases are optional. * Examples of government picture identification (ID) include a driver's license, employer ID, school ID, state ID, military ID, national ID, voter ID, visa or passport. If there is a multi-year business relationship, you should identify and authenticate the taxpayer.

*This means that obtaining a credit report is not required where identification steps have been taken.

Remote Transaction

The electronic return originator must record the name, social security number, address and date of birth. Verify that the name, social security number, address, date of birth and other personal information on record are consistent with the information provided through record checks with the applicable agency or institution or through credit bureaus or similar databases.

Theft Protection PIN

This provides an input field to enter an IRS-issued Theft Protection PIN, or IP PIN.  For more information, please refer to this IRS Frequently Asked Questions article.

NOTE:  The 6-digit IP PIN is sometimes confused with the 5-digit e-File PIN; they're not the same or interchangeable.

The PIN will be applicable for the current tax year only.   Taxpayers will receive a letter and PIN each year in January for a period of 3 years following the last validated incident.  If the taxpayer misplaces or loses the letter, they will not be able to obtain a new PIN.  The return may still be filed without the PIN; however, there may be a delay in the processing of the return while the IRS validates the identity of the taxpayer.

If both the taxpayer and spouse have received a PIN, use only the PIN of the primary SSN or ITIN on the return.  If the taxpayer indicates that they did not receive the letter, the preparation or signature process should continue normally.  Electronic returns will be subject to the IRS acceptance standards without regard to the Identity Protection PIN.

For Tax Years 2014 and Prior

Open the return and go to Input Return (Enter Data in TY2012 and prior)

  • Click and expand the General section
  • Click on Misc. Info/Direct Deposit
  • Enter the primary taxpayer's six digit Identity Protection PIN in Identity Theft Protection PIN

NOTE: In 2014 there are no inputs for a dependent IPN.

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