Why can't IRS verify my identity using My T-Mobile phone

I have tried to create an online account at and go to the step where they ask for a mobile phone number to verify my identity. When I enter my T-Mobile phone number, I receive an error message saying "We weren't able to verify your identity using your phone." I am the primary account holder of T-Mobile account. T-Mobile support states they do not know the reason for this failure. Is this just me or for everyone on T-Mobile?


Best answer by magenta2501980 17 April 2018, 14:56

The name on the caller id must be you full legal name, match the IRS system.
It took a while before i got this figured out, since the name on the bill is my full legal name but the caller id was just my initial.

Good Luck!!

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24 replies

Userlevel 5

Hey, @rmk9785e​!

Do you have a postpaid or prepaid account? Also, are you able to receive SMS' from short codes (ex. bank texts, coupons from stores, etc.)? If short codes are blocked on your account, this may be why they're not able to verify your mobile number.

Userlevel 5

Happy Friday, @rmk9785e​!

I'm just swinging by to see if you've had a chance to look over my previous reply to you. Keep me updated if anything changes or if you were able to get your identity verified through the IRS.

Sorry for the delay. Here are my answers:

I used to have a prepaid account which I have already changed to postpaid account. Not sure if any remnants of my prepaid status are still not giving my current status of postpaid when IRS system tries to validate my registration.

I am able to receive SMS from CVS and T-Mobile. I don't recall asking short codes to be blocked. How can I have it checked?

Userlevel 5

Ah, that may be what's going on. Again, I'm not 100% sure how the IRS verifies your identity but you can have your account reviewed to see if you have a content block by contacting us via 611 or T-Force via Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you. I had it checked and was told there’s no block and it is a postpaid account.

IRS has no tech support line for me to call and their regular agents are not trained to handle this type of issues. Our government agencies are so far behind times.

I’m stumped. What else could it be?

Userlevel 5
Badge +12

Are you on a No Credit Check Post Paid?

Thank you. Checked that one too. It is a credit check postpaid account. Are any T-Mobile customers able to register at IRS web site?

Userlevel 4

It is possible their records still indicate you as having a prepaid account and would need to be updated. I know finding a customer support option on their site might be a bit tough but did they provide any other ways of verifying?

If you mean IRS by 'they', I doubt if they keep records of the type of accounts T-Mobile customers have. I suspect the old prepaid status may be hiding somewhere in T-Mobile system records which IRS checks to see the type of account one has. IRS does not have any consumer support option for registration to their online systems. They do have a phone number to support businesses. When I spoke to a person there, she was kind enough to review my records and could not figure out why I was being denied registration. Sadly, she said their applications are designed and tested to be compatible only with Internet Explorer even though they could work with other browsers. I tried accessing using IE and it was more responsive but still couldn't verify my identity with T-Mobile.

Userlevel 4

I am not sure what information the IRS site is requesting when the verification is sent but when it comes to prepaid and postpaid accounts, when a prepaid number is converted to a post paid account, the old prepaid account is removed from our systems so there should not be anything hiding anywhere. Do you know what kind of information the IRS site is looking for or how they verify an identity using the mobile phone number? Is there a specific call back they are looking for from our network?

Userlevel 5

Hey, @rmk9785e​!

Chris brought up a great question - how are they attempting to verify you? That might help us get to the bottom of what's going on.

Same thing just occurred to me. I've been with T-Mobile for 10+ years with same exact number and IRS website cannot "verify my identity" with the number provided. What a joke.

The name on the caller id must be you full legal name, match the IRS system.
It took a while before i got this figured out, since the name on the bill is my full legal name but the caller id was just my initial.

Good Luck!!

Userlevel 4

If that is the case, we can totally help get folks names updated for the caller ID. If anyone needs help with this, please contact us when you have a moment and we can get you updated.

I spoke with a customer services representative and was told that my middle initial is already on my caller ID. I've verified that it shows as Last name, First Name, Middle Initial. On the other hand, IRS registration service does not ask for middle initial.

I have confirmed that my account is postpaid.

The IRS registration presentation is at this site. Step by step registration process is here. This is what it says about mobile phone number:

A readily available mobile device. For instant access, your name must be associated with a U.S-based mobile phone capable of receiving text messages.  If the mobile phone number cannot be linked to your name, you may opt for a mailed activation code during registration.

My purpose of registration was to be able to get my tax transcripts online as explained here.

This is where I start registering for my account. Everything goes fine until I enter my phone number so they can send me a text message with verification code.

The error message says:

Error Icon We were unable to verify that this phone number belongs to you with the phone provider. Please double check that your phone number was typed correctly or try a different number.  

IRS support number for e-Services registration is (866)255-0654, 1,2,1 with estimated wait time of 30-60 minutes. I'm currently on hold. As our illustrious President says, "Very Frustrating!".

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

That happened to my husband and me. The problem was a protection the government put on our accounts when our info was stolen from the Top Security Clearance rosters of the Office of Personnel Management (Yea, government computer security 😠 ). There was nothing to do, but go to the SSA offices and have it handled officially. It seems ANY credit monitoring can reek havoc on this authentication tool. 😉

Finally I was able to speak to a support representative. He asked me to use Internet Explorer (which I was using already), clear Temporary Internet Files and Cookies and try again. On the next try, it still failed to verify. He asked me to press Continue button which I faithfully did. The next screen informed me that my identity is verified and allowed me to create a userID and password. I'm going to have to wait for the Activation Code to arrive in the mail.

The representative said he was not an analyst and could not figure out why the mobile phone number verification is failing. He said they have been aware of the problem. I'm not holding my breath for the feds to fix it.

I hope some of this will help others.

2018.08.18.  I had the same issue.  Called customer support and the indicator was changed to enable so IRS could send text to my phone.  That is it!  You need to call T-mobile customer service #611.

Same problem with text messages from IRS.  I called T-mobile #611.  Explained the issue.  He did something with my account.  Totally fixed!  Received the IRS text.  Thanks a bunch!!!! 

Same thing happening to me and i do not know what to communicate to support person besides IRS can't validate my identity on post-paid account, someone mentioned "indicator" what indicator was changed?

I too was trying to verify with the IRS and it would not work.

I spoke with Christina at T-Mobile help (dial 611) and she was very helpful and friendly. She told me that the "short codes needed to be enabled".

Even that little bit of information took her awhile to find.

Just a heads up, the 1st rep I spoke with was "off shore" and tried to help but it took so, so long for her to even understand my question because of

English not being her primary language. She obviously kept giving me "canned" responses and somebody was directing her in the background. Save your time and avoid the frustration and ask for a U.S. rep.

Hope this helps.

Kind Regards,


what i found was the full name I used on my IRS forms did not match the ID name T Mobile uses for my account. I found I filled out the IRS with my middle initial, on T Mobile I do not use it. Lucking for me my wife does not have a middle initial so I retried with her name and was able to create an account. The big issue is the online IRS form does not have a place to enter the middle initial.

My guess is, if T Mobile allows it, change your account ID with your middle initial, and it should work.

Be careful with some MVNO's like mint, I got this hypothesis that caller ID has to be set to "your name" and by default they don't set it to a name at all...

FYI from IRS website:


Text Messages

When you register for an IRS account, we will send a one-time activation code to your mobile phone number. Each time you log in to your account, we will send a security code by text message or phone call. Text messages from IRS Password Service originate from “77958” and message and data rates may apply. Phone calls originate from “202-318-5542.”

  • When you receive the code, enter it quickly and accurately.
    • The code is only valid for 10 minutes. You can request a new code from the login screen. Note: you are limited to just a few attempts before you are locked out for 24 hours.
  • If you didn’t receive the text message:
    • You may have opted out of receiving messages from IRS password service. Text IN to “77958” to resume service and receive the security code.
    • Your provider may be experiencing technical issues. Request a code via phone call from the login screen or try again later.

Note: Our call center can’t troubleshoot text message delivery issues. If you can't get a text message right now, you can get a security code via phone call.