Common Questions about H&R Block’s Tax Identity Shield, Answered
Last year H&R Block offered something new to our clients –Tax Identity Shield ®. This is in response to the growing problem of tax identity theft. In 2013, approximately 2.4 million taxpayers were identified as tax identity theft victims. In tax season 2013, the IRS estimated more than $5.8 billion in refunds were paid to fraudsters.
Tax Identity Shield ® is another layer of protection to help H&R Block clients better safeguard their tax identity. Many clients became Tax Identity Shield® members in 2015, and, since it’s a new offering, we wanted to help answer some of our client’s questions and misconceptions.
I thought H&R Block would send me the IRS Identity Protection PIN.
H&R Block does not issue Identity Protection (IP) PINs. Only the IRS can do that. By being a Tax Identity Shield® member, you get help from H&R Block representatives in obtaining an IP PIN or other identity theft protections available from the IRS. For help requesting an IP PIN (or other IRS protections), you can call the unique phone number provided to Tax Identity Shield® clients. One of our representatives will ask you questions to help determine what additional IRS protections you may be eligible for and guide you through the request process.
Since I bought Tax Identity Shield®, do I need to get an IP PIN before I can file my 2015 tax return?
No, but we recommend that you go through the process to request your IP PIN (or other IRS protections) if it makes sense for your situation. If you have an IP PIN, you must use it when you file your tax return, but if you do not have an IP PIN – or do not wish to get one – you don’t need one to file your tax return. Just because you purchased Tax Identity Shield ® does not mean you are required to get an IP PIN.
Does this protect me from any identity theft?
Identity theft is pervasive and happens in many different ways and locations. H&R Block can’t prevent identity theft from happening, but we can provide some helpful tips on safeguarding your information from would-be thieves. It is best to protect yourself, and your information, in many different ways. Tax Identity Shield® is specifically designed to help you better protect your tax identity. We have additional recommendations on how to protect your information.
Not a member?
You might be wondering what benefits are part of the Tax Identity Shield®. It includes tools that help you reduce the risk of a thief filing a fraudulent return using your information. Of course, nothing is foolproof. So the Tax Identity Shield® also includes help in the event you do become a victim. Here’s what all members get:
- Proactive Defense – Assistance obtaining IRS tax identity protections (IP PIN) to help better protect against thieves filing a fraudulent tax return with your information (subject to eligibility).
- Detection and Notification – A tax eFile notification if your information is detected on a tax return filed through H&R Block.
- Risk Assessment– A pre-tax season tax identity theft risk assessment to determine your tax identity threat rating and some of the steps you can take to help better protect your tax identity.
- Education – Information on the latest scams and threats as well as what you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
- Restoration Assistance – Help to restore your tax identity if you become a victim.
Anyone can choose to become a Tax Identity Shield ® member when they have their taxes prepared by H&R Block. If you have any additional questions, please talk with one of our tax professionals or give us a call at 1-800-HRBLOCK.
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