E-file PIN program shut down in response to cyberattacks

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS announced that the electronic filing personal identification number (e-file PIN) tool, used by taxpayers to verify their signature on Form 1040, is “no longer available” after it detected additional attacks on the system (IRS Statement on the Electronic Filing PIN).

In February, the IRS announced that criminals attacking the system accessed more than 100,000 of the numbers but that they had not stolen any taxpayer information. The IRS says it did not close down the system then because links to the program are embedded in almost all commercial return preparation software; it opted to provide more security defenses instead of disrupting the program.

The IRS said it had planned on shutting down the program later this year but acted now when it detected these additional attacks.

The Service also said that the effect on taxpayers should be minimal because the e-file PIN is used by only a small number of taxpayers to verify their signature on a Form 1040. Most taxpayers use their adjusted gross income from their prior-year return to authenticate their current-year return. Those who do not have a copy of their prior-year return may use Get Transcript (which reopened recently after a data breach last year) to obtain their returns.

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

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