Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

IRS Shuts Down E-File PIN Tool

The IRS is continually having difficulties when it comes to defending taxpayers’ information from cybercriminals. Most recently, the IRS has had to shut down the e-file PIN tool due to a barrage of automated attacks taking place. The IRS announced Thursday that the attacks have increased in frequency and that it has closed both the online tool and the toll-free phone service.

This problem is not new. In fact, the IRS had announced back in February that more than 100,000 e-file PINs had been accessed. The Service denied that any taxpayer information had been stolen as a result. The e-file PIN tool was not shut down during tax season since the links to it were embedded in nearly all commercial tax prep software programs. However, additional defenses were added to the tax processing systems to improve security on returns filed with e-file PINs.

You may be asking, “How does this affect me?” Well, the answer is that it probably doesn’t. This shutdown will have a very minimal impact on most taxpayers. It will mainly affect those taxpayers who have not yet filed their tax returns this year. The e-file PIN is just an alternative signature verification method for the Form 1040. However, there is another option when it comes to alternative signature verification and that is using your prior-year adjusted gross income (AGI). If you don’t know your prior-year AGI right off the top of your head (who does?) or have access to last year’s return, you can use the IRS’s “Get Transcript Online” service to get a copy of your return.

By Stacy Redmond