The IRS Mea Culpa
So, to start 2016 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it has discovered an error affecting Identity Protection Personal Identity Numbers (IP PIN) letters mailed out in December 2015. Those letters had the wrong effective year.
As part of its efforts to crack down on identity-related theft, the IRS is
stepping up the use of IP PINs for taxpayers.
An IP PIN is a unique 6 digit sequence that helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s
identity. When you have an IP PIN, it prevents someone else from
filing a tax return with your Social Security Number (SSN) since returns which
don’t include the correct IP PIN may be booted back. If a tax return is e-filed
with your SSN but an incorrect or missing IP PIN, the IRS e-file system will
reject the return until you submit the return with the correct IP PIN or you
file a return on paper. If a tax return is filed on paper with your SSN but an
incorrect or missing IP PIN, the IRS will delay processing the return –
including any refund due – while they determine the validity of the return.
Letters sending out IP PINs for the 2016 filing season (for the 2015 tax
year) were mailed out at the end of December 2015 (but dated January 4, 2016)
marked with the incorrect year. The letter, also referred to as a CP01A Notice,
incorrectly indicates the IP PIN issued is to be used for filing your 2014 tax
return when the number is actually to be used for your 2015 tax return. Despite
the error, the IP PIN listed on the CP01A notice is valid for the 2015 returns.
Taxpayers and tax professionals should use this IP PIN number for 2015 tax
returns when the filing season opens on January 19, 2016.
If you’re filing delinquent returns in 2016 for the years 2012, 2013 or 2014,
use the same IP PIN issued with the CP01A notice. You do not need to use an IP
PIN to file a federal form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,
a federal form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File
U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or federal form 433-D, Installment
Agreement for any year.
Not all taxpayers will receive a CP01A notice with an IP PIN and you
shouldn’t confuse the IP PIN with the 5 digit PIN you use to e-file your
returns: those PINS aren’t interchangeable. IP PINs are only issued to taxpayers
- self-reported to IRS as a victim of identity theft;
- were identified by IRS a victim of identity theft; or
- participated in the IP PIN pilot for residents of Florida, Georgia, or
the District of Columbia.
As you can imagine, this isn’t how IRS wanted to start the tax season. On their website, in addition to information about the error, they’ve issued the following Oops, were sorry:
The IRS apologizes for the confusion and any inconvenience.
Bruce – Your Host at The Tax Nook
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