IRS IP PIN notice contains wrong tax year for filing

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS alerted the public that notices it sent out to identity theft victims in December with the identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PINs) they must use to file their tax returns mistakenly state that the IP PIN is for the 2014 tax year. The numbers are actually for 2015 tax returns, which the IRS will begin accepting Jan. 19. The CP 01A notices are all dated Jan. 4, 2016, and are being received by taxpayers now through mid-January, the IRS said.

The IRS emphasized that taxpayers and their tax professionals should use the IP PINs on these notices when they file their 2015 returns despite the mistake. The number is valid for all individual tax returns filed in 2016.

The IRS issues six-digit IP PINs to victims of tax identity theft. In the 2014 tax filing season, it issued more than 1.2 million of them. The IRS uses IP PINs to verify taxpayers’ identities and accept their electronic or paper tax return. Taxpayers who have an IP PIN prevent someone else from filing a tax return with their Social Security number (SSN).

According to the IRS, for victims of tax return identity theft, if a return is e-filed with their SSN and an incorrect or missing IP PIN, the IRS system will reject it until the return is submitted with the correct IP PIN or filed on paper. If the same conditions occur on a paper-filed return, the IRS will delay processing of the return, and any refund due is withheld for the taxpayer’s protection while the IRS determines if it belongs to the taxpayer.

Sally P. Schreiber (sschreiber@aicpa.org) is a JofA senior editor.

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