The problem of identity theft affects a broad array of financial services, including the filing of income tax returns. Tax filers who have been issued an identity-theft PIN by the IRS must generally include the number on their personal income tax return.
Individuals who have had their tax returns targeted by identity thieves may receive a CP01A Notice from the IRS. The mailed letter includes a personal identification number that you must use on your income tax return for the upcoming year. Individuals at risk of tax identity theft can also submit a request for a PIN. Once a PIN is issued, the risk of identity theft is greatly reduced, but additional filing requirements are also put in place.
Additional e-file requirement
Form 1040 contains an entry space for a PIN on tax returns that are mailed, but the PIN requirement is largely intended to protect the integrity of e-filed returns. An e-filed return that is transmitted without a required PIN will not be accepted. Most tax filers who have been issued a PIN are fully aware of its importance, so they keep the number in a secure location. However, some tax filers lose their PIN and subsequently must contact the IRS to retrieve the number.
If you have misplaced your PIN, the IRS provides an online tool to retrieve the number. If you are not able to successfully navigate the online process to retrieve a lost PIN, an IRS phone number is available to call. After verifying your identity with an IRS representative, the PIN is mailed to you. If you are married or have dependents, any of them may also be issued an identity-theft PIN.
Even though Form 1040 contains only one entry space for a PIN, an e-filed tax return can contain PINs for additional persons. Tax-preparation software typically includes entry boxes to include the separate PINs for a spouse or dependents. If you are unable to obtain all of the required PINs to e-file your tax return, the option to mail the return is available.
On Form 1040, a PIN is entered in a specific entry box located next to the lines designated for signatures. The only identity-theft PIN that should be entered on a paper tax return is the PIN for the primary taxpayer. If a PIN has been issued to a spouse or a dependent, that PIN should not be entered on a mailed return. Contact an accountant, such as one from Alexander & Associates CPA, for more advice on tax preparation.