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IRS rejection codes & IRS Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)

Jo Willetts, EA

Director, Tax Resources

Published on: July 21, 2023

If the IRS rejects your state or federal tax return after you’ve filed, it can mean you have a simple error to correct such as a missing form, or it could mean something more serious, such as identity theft. First, don’t panic. If your tax return is rejected and you need to prove your identity to get a secure PIN from the IRS to refile, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more.

What’s an IP PIN and rejection code?

An Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) is a six-digit unique number that helps prevent another person from filing a tax return using your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification number(ITIN) if you don’t have a SSN.

If your state or federal tax return is rejected, the IRS will send a unique rejection code to you so that you can correct the error(s) on your tax return and refile either electronically or by mail. A rejected tax return is not considered “filed” to the IRS or any state(s), so you will need to make sure you correct the reason for the reject and refile as soon as possible. Your notice will let you know what specific error(s) to correct. The most common rejects are for name and SSN mismatches, such as newly married taxpayers who didn’t change their name with the Social Security Administration.

  • When the reject is because you didn’t include your IP PIN for this year, be sure to include the correct IP PIN and refile your return ASAP. Not including your correct IP PIN will only result in another tax return rejection from the IRS, delaying your refund if you’re owed one and can lead to rising penalties when your return is filed late.

But your tax return could be rejected for a more sensitive reason that requires more attention. If, for example, the IRS has already received a tax return with yours, your spouse’s or a dependent’s personal information, this could be a case of identity theft and you’ll need another layer of security to file. When this happens, the IRS assigns an IP PIN. This helps the IRS determine your identity when you file electronically or by mail. Only you and the IRS know your IP PIN and it changes each year.

  • If your identity has been stolen, you will need to go through the steps on the ID Theft (IDT) page on immediately. However, any taxpayer can request an IP PIN. They aren’t only for those whose ID has been compromised. Keep reading to see how to do that, and why it might be a good idea.

Again, the IP PIN is meant for security protection. If you’ve been a victim of tax-related identity theft and you’ve contacted the IRS to deal with this serious issue, the IRS will mail you a CP01A notice with your new IP PIN. You get a new CP01A with your IP PIN every year.

  If you filed with someone else and you have internet access, you can visit and search the reject code you were given, or call the IRS number on the notice you received to find out what your rejection code means, so that you can make the specific correction(s) to your return and refile either electronically or by mail.

How do I get an IP PIN?

If you’ve confirmed with the IRS that you’re a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS will automatically send you a CP01A notice with your IP PIN. You will need a new IP PIN each year you file your taxes. You should receive a new CP01A notice each year from the IRS.

If you have not received a notice with your new IP PIN, you can request one by doing the following.

  • You must pass an identity verification process with the IRS first.
  • Spouses and dependents included on your tax return are also eligible for an IP PIN if they can pass an identity test, too.

Can I get an IP PIN if I’m not a victim of Identity Fraud?

Yes, even if you haven’t been a victim of identity theft, you could benefit from an IP PIN and can request one. The fastest way to get an IP PIN is to use the IRS’ online Get an IP PIN tool directly on its website. You will need to create an online account on to prove your identity. The Get an IP PIN tool on the website is only available mid-January through mid-November. You will not get IRS Letter CP01A for these IP PINs, instead you must log into the IRS Get an IP PIN tool annually.

There are other important details to keep in mind when looking to get an IP PIN. 

  • Each new IP PIN is valid for one calendar year only.
  • A new IP PIN is created each year and is only for your tax returns.
  • Logging back into the Get an IP PIN tool will show your current IP PIN only.
  • The annual IP PIN must be used when filing personal federal tax return(s) during the year, including prior-year tax returns and amended returns filed.

If you are unable to retrieve an IP PIN using the IRS tool on its website, you can go to the local Taxpayer Assistance Center, call first (1-800-908-4490) and make an appointment, or download Form 15227 from the IRS. When you apply by mail and sign the form, you will need a valid SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and access to a telephone with a number where you can be reached.   

If you cannot access the Get an IP PIN tool on IRS’ website and you also don’t have access to a telephone number, you can request an appointment with your nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center through the IRS website.

How do I file my taxes with an IP PIN?

You will need to have your six-digit IP PIN handy when it’s time to file your taxes. If you’re filing with a Tax Pro, they will have you enter the IP PIN on your return, to keep it secret. Remember, don’t share your IP PIN with anyone outside of your Tax Pro or the IRS. If you’re required to use an IP PIN when you file your taxes, but do not include it on your return, then your tax return will be rejected by the IRS, and you’ll have to add your IP PIN and refile.

If you lose your IP PIN, you can retrieve it by using the Get an IP PIN on, or calling 1-800-908-4490. You will need your SSN and be able to prove your identity.

How do I fix my rejected tax return?

When your return is rejected due to an error, you will receive notice from your tax prep company or the software company you used with the reject code. The code will be specific to the error(s) on your tax return that needs to be corrected. Your tax prep company will get the correct information from you, fix the return and refile. If you did your return using software, you will need to refile your tax return as soon as you fix the error.

For the most accurate tax return, it’s best to have a Tax Pro assist you with your filing so that you can more easily avoid minor errors. You can also get the most deductions and credits you’re eligible for!

Additional help and resources, if your tax return is rejected

If you receive a notice from your Tax Pro or software company telling you your tax return was rejected, don’t panic. It’s most likely a simple error that can be corrected by refiling after fixing the error. The notice you received generally gives the specific reject code and explains what area(s) of your return needs attention. Remember, you will need a new IP PIN each year, so expect to receive a new CP01A notice from the IRS, or look up your IP PIN on, when it’s time to file your taxes again.

Contact your local Tax Pro for any tax help you need. We’re open all year. Be proactive about taking the next steps as soon as possible, to avoid any IRS penalties. We’re here and happy to help.

About the Author

Jo Willetts, Director of Tax Resources at Jackson Hewitt, has more than 35 years of experience in the tax industry. As an Enrolled Agent, Jo has attained the highest level of certification for a tax professional. She began her career at Jackson Hewitt as a Tax Pro, working her way up to General Manager of a franchise store. In her current role, Jo provides expert knowledge company-wide to ensure that tax information distributed through all Jackson Hewitt channels is current and accurate.

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