Did you know you in lieu of your signature you can get a PIN number to file your taxes? By doing this, you don’t have to worry about a thief filing a tax return using your name and social security number. This program is called the IRS Identity Protection PIN, or IP PIN, Opt-in Program. It is a six-digit number known only to you and the IRS.

This helps the IRS to verify your identity and accept your electronic or paper tax return. This used to be reserved only for identity theft victims, but now the IRS allows anyone to opt-in to the IP PIN program. This program is fully voluntary, and you must pass a rigorous process to verify your identity. But once that’s complete, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have an added extra lay of protection on your identity when filing taxes.

The IRS offers an online tool for taxpayers to use to get his/her IP PIN number. You must obtain a new IP PIN every year. Most importantly, you should never share you IP PIN with anyone except your trusted tax professional. Go to www.irs.gov/IPPIN to learn more about the Opt-In program.