Identity Protection PINs Are Worth the Hassle

By Thomas W Bassett, CPA, JD, AEP®, Commerce Trust Company East Region Tax Manager
February 15, 2022

IRS opens the season for IP PINs... 

Get yourself an “IP PIN” — an “Identity Protection PIN”. But it’s different from last year’s method, and may take more time, so plan to do it sooner than later. 

To start the process, you’ll need to go to: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/get-an-identity-protection-pin

Click on the link that says “Get an IP PIN”. You’ll be sent to a different website - ID.Me. Know that the IRS will soon transition away from the use of third-party verification involving facial recognition, but for this tax season, the IRS is using that website/service to authenticate taxpayers. You'll need to create an account there -- and you'll need to be able to upload copies of things like a driver's license, a state non-driver ID (or other official photo ID), and be able to take a "selfie". 

If you can’t finish the process with the automatic tools (I wasn’t), you’ll schedule an appointment with one of the ID.Me staff, who will then meet you “virtually,” ask to see these documents, and will authenticate you. Then you can finish your account creation with the IRS and get your IP PIN. 

I did the ID.Me interview a few weeks ago and got my IP PIN in about three minutes. Now my tax return can’t be filed by someone else — that little six-digit number “locks” my Social Security Number (SSN) from being used on a fraudulent tax return. WELL WORTH THE HASSLE. 

As an aside, this tax season promises to be another brutal one with severe IRS delays and backlogs in processing returns. Not to mention the overhang of 2019 and 2020 returns that are in their queue, somewhere, not yet processed. 

If you have an overpayment from 2020 being applied to 2021 and they haven’t yet processed your 2020 return, be prepared to get a notice “correcting” your payments (and possibly leaving a shortfall and generating a balance due notice). 

Rest assured that, eventually, the IRS will get caught up and get that payment restored to your account, though “eventually” might be later this year or possibly early 2023. But get that IP PIN, and then don’t misplace it — once an IP PIN has been assigned for your SSN, you can’t e-file nor paper file a return without it (well, you can, but it will be set aside for manual review and confirmation of your identity, which will likely mean months of delay). 

Getting a tax refund or expecting a balance due? Contact a Commerce Trust Company wealth management advisor to see how it might affect your investment portfolio. 

The opinions and other information in the commentary are as of February 15, 2022.
This summary is intended to provide general information only, may be of value to the reader and audience, and any opinions expressed herein are subject to change.
This material is not a recommendation of any particular security or investment strategy, is not based on any particular financial situation or need and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or investment professional.
Commerce does not provide tax advice or legal advice to customers. Consult a tax specialist regarding tax implications related to any product and specific financial situation.
Commerce Trust Company is a division of Commerce Bank.

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