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Karen Brehmer: Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us for today's webinar, "Quick Security Tips from the IRS. Get an Identity Protection PIN." My name is Karen Brehmer. And I'm here with my colleague, Brian Wozniak. We're both Senior Stakeholder Liaisons in the Communications & Liaison Division. We work with tax professionals and small business owners. We do outreach and education. And we identify ways the agency can be more responsive to customers' needs. We'll cover a few things about this webinar system first, and then we'll move into today's topic. In case you experience a technology issue, this slide shows helpful tips and reminders.

We've posted a technical help document that you can download from the "Materials" section on the left side of your screen. It provides the minimum system requirements for viewing this webinar, and it also has some best practices and quick solutions. If you have completed and passed your system check and you're still having problems, please try one of the following. The first option is to close the screen, where you're viewing the webinar and re-launch it. And the second option is to click on the settings in your browser viewing screen and select HLS. Closed captioning is available for today's presentation. If you're having trouble hearing the audio through your computer speakers, please click the "Closed Captioning" drop-down arrow located on the left side of your screen. And this feature will be available throughout the webinar. If you have a question for us today, please submit it by clicking the "Ask Question" drop-down arrow and that will reveal a textbox. And all you have to do is type your question in the textbox and then click "Send." This is really important, so please do not enter any sensitive or taxpayer-specific information, no names, no SSN, nothing like that at all. And feel free to enter your questions at any time during the webinar and we'll get to them at the end of today's webinar. Okay, let's get started with today's topic, "Quick Security Tips from the IRS. Get an Identity Protection PIN." This is our third webinar as part of our National Tax Security Awareness Week. This is a 5-day effort by the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry to encourage the public to take the strongest security measures possible. And at this time, I will turn it over to Brian.

Brian Wozniak: Thank you, Karen. This next slide explains that the Security Summit consists of the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax community. We are all working in partnership to combat identity theft, to combat refund fraud and to protect the nation's taxpayers. The Security Summit members have made great progress in the fight against identity theft and stolen identity refund frauds.

But we have more work to do and we need your help. We need everyone to do everything possible to protect their sensitive personally identifiable information to protect your personally identifiable data. Yesterday, we talked about how multi-factor authentication can protect your online accounts, especially your online tax products, tax-preparation products. And today Karen and I are going to talk to you about the Identity Protection PIN and how you can get one in January of 2021. And the Identity Protection PIN, it's commonly referred to as an IP PIN, Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. This is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. An IP PIN helps the IRS verify taxpayers' identity and accept their electronic or paper tax return for processing. When you have an IP PIN, it prevents someone else from filing a tax return with your Social Security number. We are expanding the IP PIN to all taxpayers and this is a huge advancement in our fight against identity theft. The IP PIN is a number. It's known only to you and the IRS. The IP PIN changes every year. So each January, you will get a new IP PIN that is valid for that calendar year. And then, you or your trusted tax return preparer simply enter the 6-digit number when prompted by tax preparation software, or if you're filing a paper return, you enter the IP PIN at the signature line. Karen? Karen Brehmer: Thank you, Brian. Let's tell everybody a little bit more about IP PINs. And I see that Galen has asked the question and we're going to answer that question right now. So IP PIN started in 2011, and at that time, the IP PIN was only for people who were confirmed identity theft victims and it had affected their tax returns. If you were a victim, you would automatically be issued an IP PIN.

And that would be mailed to you as part of a CP01A notice. Then starting in 2014, residents of certain locations in the U.S. were invited to opt in to receive an IP PIN by accessing the Get an IP PIN online. And if they were able to pass through authentications, then they got an IP PIN.

In 2020, residents in 19 states and the District of Columbia were eligible to opt in. But now, we have changed the policy again. So starting in mid-January 2021, all taxpayers who can verify their identities can get an IP PIN. And you can review the process at to see if the IP PIN is right for you. So let's get it, give you a few more details here. Starting in January, here are your options on how to get an IP PIN. One option is to go to the tool on that's called get an IP PIN. And you would enter your existing username and password that you have already for an IRS account or you could create an IRS account if you don't have one.

We're going to tell you more about that IP PIN tool as we go along, so there's more to come. So if you can't verify your identity online, and your income is $72,000 or less, then what you do is you file Form 15227. The name of that form is "Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number." Now, that Form 15227, it's not available right now, but it will be available by January 2021. If you can't verify your identity remotely and you're ineligible to file a Form 15227, you can call the IRS to make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center and verify your identity in person. I bet they could use a few more details about that, Brian.

Brian Wozniak: Okay, well, let me go through these options in more detail then. Specifically, for the online option the Get an IP PIN tool is offline between now and mid-January. I want to repeat that. It's not available. The Get an IP PIN tool is offline until mid-January. We are going to open it up again in January and our target date is to have it available January 11. So on January 11, you can go to the Get an IP PIN tool. Karen alluded to this. If you already have an IRS account, simply enter your username and your password. When we say, if you already have an IRS account, we mean that you already registered and currently have access to other IRS online tools, such as the Get Transcript or View Your Tax Account and Online Payment Agreement. So if you've already signed up for one of those online tools, you can use the same username and password to obtain an IP PIN in January. If you do not have an account, you're going to have to create one and verify your identity. And this is a onetime registration process. So this next slide shows what you need to verify your identity and register online. The first item there, you're going to need your e-mail address and your Social Security number, or your Individual Tax Identification Number, your ITIN, if that's what you have. Second, you're going to need your most recent tax return to provide your filing status, your tax filing status and your mailing address as it would show on IRS records. Third, you'll need to provide one financial account number that is linked to your name. Now, as you see on the slide, it can be a credit card in which case you're going to need to provide the last 8 digits of the card. And please note that if you opt to use a credit card for validation, it cannot be a debit card. It cannot be a corporate card, and it cannot be American Express. Instead of a credit card, you can also use a student loan account and you will have to enter the student loan account number provided on your statement. One item about student loan account numbers is they oftentimes contain both numbers and letters. And sometimes they even have symbols do not include any symbols. And additionally, I'll make another note about student loans. We cannot verify student loans that were issued by Nelnet, N-E-L-N-E-T. Now another financial account you can use as an auto loan. And you can also use a mortgage or a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit those are commonly referred to as a HELOC. Then the fourth item on the slide is you will be prompted to provide information on a U.S.-based mobile phone that is linked to your name. And by providing the cell phone information, this is the fastest way to register. Otherwise, if you can't provide it, we will have to send an activation code by mail in order to complete the registration process. So this is a pretty rigorous verification process, because obviously, we want to protect everyone's information. Secure Access is a two-factor authentication process. This means that returning users will need to enter more than just their username and password to enter back into their IRS account, the online account. They will need to enter a security code that will be sent by text message to your mobile phone number.

And you can learn more about the online authentication process. You see the web addresses listed there at the bottom of the slide it is That's where you go to find out more about this. Karen? Karen Brehmer: Okay. Thank you, Brian. We've got a lot of good questions coming in. And a lot of them we are going to be answering as we move on and those that we don't answer we will get to at the end, we hope. So you can get a slight jump on this process now by registering for an account now, so that you verified your identity. And you have your username and password that you can use on January 11 or afterwards to at the Get an IP PIN tool. So since you can't go to the Get an IP PIN tool right now, because it's closed until January, what you could do instead is go to one of our other tools such as View Your Tax Accounts or Get Transcript. Those tools are also protected by Secure Access authentication. So you can go today to again View Your Tax Account or Get Transcript both are found on And you can select Create an Account. And if you register today, that means you're registered, you have a username, you have a password. But you do still need to go to the Get an IP PIN tool in January to enter your username and your password there. And then you'll get your security code and login. And that is where you will actually get to see your IP PIN immediately on the Get an IP PIN tool. So we want to give you some more details again about people who are unable to authenticate their identity online. If you try the Get an IP PIN tool or you try one of the other tools, and you're using Secure Access and you're not able to authenticate your identity online. The options you have available to you are dependent on your income. And also, we just want to say this is our first year doing this. So we're calling this a test and learn process for us. This is what we're doing this year, but it could be different in future years. So in January, if you cannot authenticate online, and your income was $72,000 or less, what you're going to do is submit Form 15227 Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number. And again, that form isn't available today. But it will be available by January. When you mail that in an IRS assister is going to call you. And they're going to verify your identity over the phone using your prior year tax information. And then an IP PIN is going to be mailed to the taxpayer. But here's one little kicker you need to know about in this case, they're not able to use it in calendar year 2021 for their 2020 tax return. In this instance, it won't be available for them to use until 2022 returns filed during 2022. So that's because of security reasons. That's why we're not providing an IP PIN for the current tax year. But after that the person is going to receive an IP PIN in the mail in a CP01A notice every year. And I'll turn it back to you Brian for some more detail on this process. Brian Wozniak: Thanks, Karen. We'll continue our discussion you were just talking about what to do if you're unable to authenticate your identity online. In that scenario, if the income was $72,000 or less. This next slide talks about what you will need to do if your income is more than $72,000. So in January, if you cannot authenticate online and your income was over $72,000, you will have to contact the IRS and make an appointment to go to a Taxpayer Assistance Center, you'll need to bring 2 forms of identification including 1 picture ID. And then once your identity is verified in-person, an IP PIN will be mailed to you within 3 weeks. Once you're in the IP PIN program, after being verified in-person, you will receive your IP PIN in the mail every year and it will come in the form of a CP01A notice. So again, if you validate in-person, you will get a letter sent via U.S. postal mail every year with your IP PIN.

Now, this next slide is very important. Please do not share your IP PIN with anyone, but your trusted tax provider, tax preparer, et cetera. If you do your own taxes, you enter the IP PIN when you're asked or prompted by the software product. If you use a paid return preparer, you share it with him or her when asked or if you perhaps go to a VITA site, you'll share it with the designated representative when appropriate. The point here is that no one from the IRS will ever call you no one from the IRS is ever going to e-mail you or send you a text message to request your IP PIN. So again, the IRS is not going to contact you to get the IP PIN. The thieves, they will be trying very hard to get your IP PIN. So you must keep it secure. And if you opt-in to the IP program through the online tool, again, we were previously talking about if you couldn't complete the online registration, but if you opt-in to the IP PIN program through the online tool, you must return each year and access your IRS online account to get a new IP PIN for that calendar year. Those folks who register online, we're not going to get those letters sent via the post office. Karen, turn it back to you. Karen Brehmer: Okay. Thank you, Brian. All right, folks, we'll do some recap here and then we'll answer your questions that are coming in. I know, we gave you a lot of really detailed information. The IP PIN program helps prevent identity thief from filing a tax return in your name and it verifies your identity to the IRS. So that's the benefit. You prevent a problem before the problem occurs. Starting in mid-January 2021, all taxpayers who can verify their identities may obtain an IP PIN to protect their tax returns.

This slide mentions IRS Publication 5367. It's called the IP PIN Opt-In Program for taxpayers.

It's available on It's in English and Spanish. And it has the details we've shared with you today. If that publication - the publication is going to be updated to say that the IP PIN is available in all 50 states. There's a onetime registration process to create an account with the IRS. You can use View Your Tax Account to register now, or you can wait until mid-January and use the Get an IP PIN tool. You register by verifying your identity through Secure Access. And you can find out more details about that at Back to you, Brian. Brian Wozniak: Thank you, Karen. Continuing our recap, once you access the Get an IP PIN tool in mid-January, your IP PIN is immediately revealed. And then again, you must use the online tool each January to obtain your calendar year IP PIN. As we discussed, if you can't verify your identity online, your option then depends on your income. If your income was $72,000 or less, you will file a Form 15227. Then an IRS representative will call you and verify your identity over the phone using tax earned information. And you will Get an IP PIN for the next filing season via U.S.

Postal Service. Now, if your income was $72,000, more than $72,000, you will have to call the IRS to make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center, bring 2 forms of identification including 1 picture ID and verify your identity in-person. Then you will Get an IP PIN it will be mailed to you 3 weeks later via U.S. Postal Service. So that concludes today's presentation and day 3 of our National Tax Security Awareness Week activity. We are going to answer some of your questions next. So please don't leave just yet. But before we start taking questions, we want you to know what's on tap for the rest of this week. Tomorrow, Thursday, we have some tips for small businesses, who are frequent targets of cybercriminals and steps they can take to protect themselves. And then Friday, we're going to review some of the latest scams we're seeing that are targeting taxpayers and tax return preparers, especially during the COVID pandemic we're in right now. So with that, I think we're going to open it up for questions, right, Karen? Karen Brehmer: Yes, we are. Do you have any that you see right away that you want to take, Brian? If not, I do.

Brian Wozniak: Oh, go ahead. Take it away. Karen Brehmer: Okay, all right. Well, one person asked if this IP PIN is for individuals or tax professionals. And the IP PIN is for individuals. Now, if you are a tax preparer, you of course also file your own tax returns. So you can get an IP PIN to protect yourself for your own tax return. Another similar question that I saw, as someone was asking, "Can a tax professional do this process for the client?" And the answer is no. It has to be the client or the taxpayer who uses the Secure Access process to do that, get an IP PIN and they get the code to their cell phone and all of that. I mean, as a tax preparer you could sit down with someone and help them when they're using their phone or using their computer. But it isn't something that the tax professional can do all by themselves without the taxpayer present or without the taxpayer's knowledge. That would be a bad idea. That's all I've got for this round.

Do you want to take a couple, Brian? Brian Wozniak: Sure, Karen. I see a couple here. Someone was asking if we could repeat the part where we discussed what they will need to do for Secure Access. And that was pretty lengthy. We had a slide on it. The first thing is the web address. It was listed on the slide. You simply go to, just type in those words, But when you register online, you're going to have to provide some of your basic entity information, your e-mail address, your Social Security Number, some information, your tax filing status, whether you file married, filing jointly, single, head of household, et cetera, mailing address. And then, third, you're going to have to provide a financial account number that is specifically linked to your name. We're talking about credit card, student loans, mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, et cetera. And then, you have to provide the information on your U.S. based mobile phone. And again, it's a rigorous process. We realize that, where you have to take these steps to protect the taxpaying public. And if it doesn't work, we did discuss the other options, if you cannot complete that online process. I see we have quite a few questions. Karen, I don't know if you have another one teed up or...? Karen Brehmer: Yeah, sure. I'll take this one. This is a great question. Someone says, "I preach to my clients all the time that the IRS does not call. However, did I hear it correctly that if they file a Form 15227, they will get a call from the IRS?" I'm glad you asked, because it is an important thing to clarify. The IRS doesn't call out of the blue. We don't call before we send a letter. We don't call for a - without having a reason to call. But if the taxpayer has done that Form 15227 and mailed it to us, and another question I saw, as far as I know, you will have to mail the form. I even haven't seen the form yet. I'm not aware if you can fax that or not. So I think it's going to have to be mailed. We'll get the answer to that question once we all see the form. But anyway, the taxpayer has started this action. They have sent in the Form 15227. They have said, I want the IRS to give me this IP PIN, so I want the IRS to call me to do the next part of the process. Because the taxpayer is expecting this call from the IRS, this would be a case, Pamela and others, where you would let your clients know you will get a call from the IRS. You - the taxpayer started the ball rolling by submitting the form and the IRS will continue the process by calling the taxpayer. I hope that helps clarify that. Brian, back to you. Brian Wozniak: Okay, I'm going to try to tackle about 4 of them in 1 answer. There are questions about, "For how many years will the IP PIN be sent?" Another question, "Is the IP PIN that's issued in January of 2021 valid for the 2020 tax year?" So the first part is yes, when people go online January 11 or thereabouts, and register online and obtain their IP PIN immediately that IP PIN will be for any returns filed in the 2021 tax year. So it would be for 2020 tax return being filed then. Once you register and you're in the IP PIN program, you will be issued an IP PIN every year that will be used for that following calendar year. One item, and Karen and I, discussed this, this morning as a matter of fact. And, Karen, there's a question here. "Once you've signed up for an IP PIN, can you opt out later?" And there was just a news release today. I don't know if you want to address that, Karen, but it mentioned basically that we are considering that option for 2022. But right now, when you opt in, there's currently no ability to opt out of the program right now. But, again, news release came out today. And it says that we are looking at that option and going to try to implement that in 2022. Karen? Karen Brehmer: Yeah, thank you so much for covering that, Brian. That was pretty big news that that we're going to allow people to opt out at a later time, like Brian said, not right now, but allow people to opt out if they say, "You know what, this really isn't for me." A couple of people asked questions about Taxpayer Assistance Centers. And again, for the people who are unable to verify their identity online. And if their income is over $72,000, then they will have to go to a Taxpayer Assistance Center in order to verify their identity in-person.

Some of our Taxpayer Assistance Centers are still closed because of COVID and other Taxpayer Assistance Centers are open. And so you - the best advice I could say is go online to, type in Taxpayer Assistance Center, find the Taxpayer Assistance Center that's closest to you that's open and that's where you'll end up going to verify your identity in-person and get that IP PIN. Another person asked if the $72,000 of income is adjusted gross income or gross income?

And, sorry, I lost my train of thought. I don't know the answer to that question yet. If the $72,000 is gross income or adjusted gross income, I just look to see again, if that Form 15227 was available. I don't see it. And so I don't know the answer to that question. I want to circle back to what I said a minute ago about Taxpayer Assistance Center, I made it sound like you can just find out where your local one is and walked in and get your assistance. You do have to make an appointment first, before you go to a Taxpayer Assistance Center. So when you go to, and you locate the closest Taxpayer Assistance Center to you, you will also be given a phone number, it is the same phone number for everyone across the country, you call that number to make an appointment, so you have an appointment time and appointment dates for you to go into the Taxpayer Assistance Center. If you need to do that, in order to get that IP PIN. I hope I made that clear. Don't just go to a Taxpayer Assistance Center make an appointment first. And Brian, back to you. Brian Wozniak: Okay. Like they pretty much always need to make an appointment anytime you're going to a Taxpayer Assistance Center. But a couple more questions that came in what happens if the taxpayer does not have a mobile phone, or if they do not have a mobile phone that's linked to their name, et cetera. Those folks and we talked briefly about it, but they can still go on and start the online registration process. But they will not be able to complete it immediately what will happen in that scenario is based on the information provided, we'll have to send an activation code in the mail via U.S. Postal Service. And then that letter with the activation code will explain the process where they can go back and complete the online registration. And again, if they can complete the online registration all in 1 swoop, in 1 step in January when it comes back online. For those folks who can complete it online, they will be able to immediately obtain their IP PIN for the 2021 calendar year that they'll use on the tax returns filed then. Similar questions with people can they don't have financial accounts linked to their name is possible maybe children or dependents, et cetera. They can't complete the online process. You have the 2 paper - the paper process or the in-person validation. So it's going to default to one of those. Somebody asked, "Does this apply for people in Missouri, or other states et cetera?" Again, Karen talked about how it's currently available for residents in 19 states in Washington, D.C. This is now available for everyone or I should say will be available for everyone in January of 2021. So all of your clients in theory could, all taxpayers could go out and register and get their own IP PIN to protect themselves. So it's really a big step. Karen, do you have a question ready to go? Karen Brehmer: Yes, I do. First of all, this is established, this is what we call phone a friend. Another one of our IRS colleagues is listening to this webinar today. And he let us know that the news release today indicates that Form 15227 may be faxed to the IRS. So there you go. If I had just taken the time to read the news release a little more closely, I would have known that. Thank you, Rich, for letting us know. Another person asked if the webinars today and this will be available to view or listen to later and the answer is yes. It will take about 3 weeks or 4 weeks for the webinars we are doing this week to be available, but they will be available on the IRS Video Portal. That's, so look for these webinars to be archived and available to be listened to again and on the IRS Video Portal. I'm going to take one more pass it over to you, if that's okay? Brian Wozniak: Fantastic.

Karen Brehmer: In terms of, what about the tax - yeah, what about the taxpayer who moves a lot or they change their mailing address what if they don't get their IP PIN letter? So the bigger question there as I see it as sort of like is getting an IP PIN the right thing for everybody. And it may not be the right thing for everybody. We certainly want people to know about it, know how to get it and know what the benefit is. But if someone - they're not able to get the IP PIN online for some reason, and they're going to get their IP PIN in the mail, and they knew that IRS mails it to their mailing address, but they don't get it. It could be a lot of reasons why they don't get it, right? Weird stuff happens. If somebody has an IP PIN, but they don't know what the number is, and they're trying to e-file their tax returns, they won't be able to e-file it without that IP PIN. We're going to - you can get a replacement IP PIN. There are some steps to do that. But it takes a little bit of work, right? A worst-case scenario is the taxpayer has to send in a paper tax return, send in the return by mail. It's supposed to have an IP PIN written on it, but there's no IP PIN on it. And it just means that the IRS will take some extra time and extra steps to verify that that paper tax return that we got in the mail, that should have an IP PIN, but that spot was blank, we're going to make sure that that return really did come from the actual taxpayer. And we're going to make sure that it didn't come from an identity thief who was trying to file a return fraudulently with that taxpayer's name or SSN. I'm going to stop there and turn it back to you, Brian. Brian Wozniak: Okay and I'm just going to elaborate on that, because that's a great point. If you register for this program, and you have an IP PIN issued, it needs to be on the returns. As Karen said, if you try to electronically file, it's not going to be accepted without the correct IP PIN. You'll have to file on paper. And if the IP PIN is not on the paper return, that's going to be delayed in processing, we're going to take steps to validate it. And there were questions in here about what are the benefits of the IP PIN and what are the drawbacks of getting an IP PIN. I guess, you could kind of say, one of the drawbacks might be is that you have to keep it safe, and you have to have it at tax time. So you're going to have to keep - if you register online, you're going to have to keep your IRS information, your username, password, your cell phone, and be able to access your account online. And for those of you that can, you can log in at any time and retrieve your IP PIN. And for those of you that are getting it via paper, if you move, you can send a change of address to us and update your address on IRS records, so that you do get it mailed to the correct address. So with that, we're going to wrap it up here, because that's pretty much all the time we have for questions. And we would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete a short evaluation before you exit. So if you'd like to have more sessions like this one, let us know. If you have some thoughts on how we can make them better, please let us know that as well. And if you have any requests for future webinar topics or pertinent information that you would like to see in an IRS Fact Sheet, or in a Tax Tip, or post it in the Frequently Asked Questions section on, then go ahead and just include those suggestions in the comments section of the survey. And you simply click that survey button on your screen to begin. And if it doesn't come up, you might need to check to make sure that you disabled your pop-up blocker. So it has been a pleasure to be here with you. And we would like to thank you for attending today's webinar and you may exit the webinar at this time. Thank you and good day.