I'm sure you are aware of someone who has had their identity stolen online. We have had several cases over the years when we go to electronically file a client's tax return it comes back with notification from IRS that a tax return has already been filed with the social security number for which we are filing. Thieves go online and file returns using your social security number and they sometimes get away with money because they claim large refunds. This is usually a mess to straighten out and the process can hold up your legitimate refund if this happens to you. None of us want more IRS tax problems.
In the past, (after-the-fact) the IRS has assigned verification numbers to victims of identity theft to file their tax returns, if requested by the victimized individual. These numbers are referred to as identity protection (IP) PINs. The IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayer’s personally identifiable information.
In recent years, the IRS has expanded the program to specific states where taxpayers can opt into the IP PIN program. Now, the voluntary program is going nationwide.
We recently issued a blog post on our website addressing this issue. If you want to protect your identity you might want to consider reading the article and following the simple instructions. We encourage you to do this as soon as possible before people can begin filing electronically on February 12th, 2021. You can access the post here.