IRS Restores IP PIN Tool with Improved Authentication

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The Internal Revenue Service has restored the online “Get an IP PIN” service after fixing security vulnerabilities in the tool for giving identity theft victims an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number.

The IRS suspended the service in the midst of tax season this year after discovering that several identity theft victims reported that thieves had filed tax returns in their name (see IRS Suspends IP PIN Service for Identity Theft Victims). The IRS has also experienced security problems with another of its online services, Get Transcript, which it also needed to suspend. However, the IRS relaunched the service for accessing tax transcripts last month with improved authentication features (see IRS Relaunches ‘Get Transcript’ App with Better Authentication).

On Tuesday, the IRS announced that the “Get an IP PIN” tool has also been revived with stronger authentication.

“The re-launched tool uses a multi-factor authentication process that will help prevent automated attacks,” said the IRS in a statement.  “Taxpayers must verify their identities using a more rigorous Secure Access process that requires them to have immediate access to an email address, account information from a credit card or other loans types and a text-enabled mobile phone.”

The IRS advised new and returning users of the tool to follow the “Secure Access” steps described in Fact Sheet 2016-20, “How to Register for Get Transcript Online Using New Authentication Process.”

In addition, the IRS cautioned that use of the IP PIN tool is limited to pre-selected taxpayers. Approximately 2.7 million IP PIN holders will receive a six-digit IP PIN through the mail late in the calendar year ahead of the start of the 2017 filing season.

“Those taxpayers who lose their IP PIN may use the tool to retrieve their number,” said the IRS. “Taxpayers who may be victims of non-tax related identity theft and who submitted an affidavit to the IRS may opt into the IP PIN program and obtain an IP PIN through the tool. Taxpayers from Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia also may obtain an IP PIN through the tool as part of a pilot project.”

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