4 Steps to Follow if You Suspect Tax-Related Identity Theft
February 22, 2017

4 Steps to Follow if You Suspect Tax-Related Identity Theft

tax return fraud

Tax-related identity theft has been on the rise every year and is expected to continue to rise. The good news is that the IRS has implemented numerous fail-safes over recent years to assist in detecting fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, these will not deter or slow down identity thieves from continuing to try claim your tax refund as record numbers of fraudulent tax filings are expected this tax season.

What Are Some Waring Signs of Tax Refund Fraud

  • Receiving an IRS letter stating that your taxes have already been filed
  • Failure or denial to file your taxes online
  • IRS records indicating you received wages from an unknown employer

What to Do?

The following is a quick summary of what you should if you’re the victim of tax-related identity theft:

  • If you received a letter from the IRS indicating a tax return was filed already with your social security number, follow the instructions on the letter.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, “Identity Theft Affidavit.” Fill out the form and submit it with your return.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov. FTC website is the “federal government’s one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft.”
  • Issue a fraud alert under your social security number with the 3 main credit bureaus:
    1. Equifax: Equifax.com or toll free 1-800-766-0008
    2. Experian: Experian.com or toll free 1-888-397-3742
    3. TransUnion: TransUnion.com or toll free 1-800-680-7289
  • The above list is not all you should do but it helps to get you started. Go to identitytheft.gov for additional information and refer to IRS Publication 4524 “Security Awareness for Taxpayers.”

Remember that the speed of your response is of utmost importance and can make a major difference in the outcome of your case.

For additional information on the measures being taken by the IRS, state tax agencies, and private-sector industries, refer to the Security Summit Partners Update Identity Theft Initiatives for 2017 and for information regarding the 2016 filing season refer to IRS, States and Industry Partners Provide Update on Collaborative Fight Against Tax-Related Identity Theft.