In response to recent cyber-attacks on the Electronic Filing PIN App (“e-file PIN”), the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced the e-file PIN capability is no longer available online or through the toll-free phone service. Prior to the shutdown, taxpayers could use the e-file PIN tool as an alternative method for signature verification on individual tax returns.
In February, the IRS announced that criminals attacked the system and accessed more than 100,000 e-file PIN numbers, but did not steal taxpayer information. The IRS did not close down the system at that time and instead elected to provide more security, noting the program’s application programming interface was embedded in most commercial return preparation software and a shutdown would cause a major disruption. The IRS planned to shut down the program later this year, but additional attacks prompted an earlier shut down.
The IRS reports that only a small number of taxpayers used the e-file PIN tool, so the effect on taxpayers should be minimal. Most taxpayers opted to use their adjusted gross income from their prior-year tax return to authenticate their returns. Taxpayers who have not filed their tax returns this year and need a replacement e-file PIN will need assistance from their respective tax software providers.
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