Now more than ever, protecting your personal information from getting into the wrong hands is crucial. For parents, this responsibility extends to their children, especially when it comes to financial matters such as taxes.
Research shows that child identity fraud costs U.S. families nearly $1 billion annually and affects one out of every 50 children. One effective way to help protect your child’s financial security is by obtaining an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) for them.
In this guide, we explore what an IP PIN is, why it’s important for your child to have one, and how parents can navigate the process of obtaining and managing their child’s IP PIN.
What is an IP PIN?
An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help prevent identity theft and tax fraud. It acts as an extra layer of security, like a password, that must be entered alongside your Social Security number (SSN) when you electronically file your tax return.
While typically associated with adults, children can also benefit from having their own IP PIN.
Why is an IP PIN Important for Children?
The main benefit of getting an IP PIN for your child is that it helps prevent tax-related identity theft. Without an IP PIN, a child’s SSN could be used to file a fraudulent tax return, stealing potential returns and leaving them with tax debts.
How to Obtain an IP PIN for Your Dependent
Acquiring an IP PIN for your child is a fairly straightforward process. Here’s what you need to do:
IRS “Get an IP PIN” Tool:
- Navigate through the steps involved in using the online tool.
- Provide the necessary information for identity verification.
- Implement security precautions to ensure a safe online experience.
Alternatives to the Online Method
If you can’t use the online tool, you have the option to mail in Form 15227, Application for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number.
According to the IRS, to use the mail method you must have the following:
Once you submit the form and the IRS receives it, they will call to verify your child’s identity. Once verified they will mail you the IP PIN via the U.S. Postal Service, typically within four to six weeks.
Alternatively, you can schedule an in-person appointment at your local Taxpayer Assistance Center. Be prepared to bring the necessary documentation to verify your child’s identity. According to the IRS, you need one current government-issued picture identification document and another identification document.
What to Do After Receiving Your Child’s IP PIN
After obtaining your child’s IP PIN, follow these steps:
- Securely store the IP PIN to help prevent unauthorized access.
- Share the IP PIN only with trusted individuals when necessary.
- Understand how to incorporate the IP PIN into the tax filing process.
- Ensure that the correct IP PIN is used each year.
- Be proactive in updating relevant information if circumstances change.
Keep in mind that the IRS will never ask for your IP PIN through phone calls, emails, or texts. If this happens to you, it can be a scam aimed at stealing your personal information.
What is an IP PIN?
An IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned by the IRS to help prevent identity theft and tax fraud.
Why is an IP PIN important for children?
It helps prevent tax-related identity theft, which can steal their refund if they have one or leave them with tax debts.
Do all children need an IP PIN?
Not necessarily. If your child doesn’t have income or isn’t claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, they may not need one.
How can I get an IP PIN for my child?
You can use the IRS online “Get an IP PIN” tool, mail Form 15227, or schedule an in-person appointment at your local Taxpayer Assistance Center.
What do I need to do to apply online?
You’ll need your child’s Social Security number and information for identity verification. If you are applying online be sure to take security precautions, such as avoiding public Wi-Fi.
What should I do after receiving my child’s IP PIN?
Securely store it in a safe place and only share it with trusted individuals when necessary.
How do I use the IP PIN when filing taxes?
You’ll need to enter the IP PIN along with your child’s Social Security number when e-filing their tax return.
Do I need to renew the IP PIN?
Yes, IP PINs expire annually. You’ll need to reapply each year before the filing deadline.
What should I do if my child’s information changes?
Be sure to update the IRS with any changes, such as a name or address change, to ensure their IP PIN remains valid.
Where can I learn more about IP PINs?
Visit the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/get-an-identity-protection-pin
Who should I contact if I have questions?
You can call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.
Can my child use the same IP PIN every year?
No, the IRS issues a new IP PIN each year for added security. Make sure to use the latest IP PIN provided during the tax filing season.
Securing an IP PIN for your child is just one step in building a comprehensive cyber-defense for your family. Sign up for family identity theft protection for comprehensive protection against identity thieves this tax season. IdentityIQ family identity theft protection services send you real-time alerts if someone attempts to use your or your children’s personal information.