Identity Theft: What to Do if Someone Has Already Filed Taxes Using Your Social Security Number
The Internal Revenue Service has taken steps to improve its identity theft prevention, detection and resolution programs. This includes improvements that help detect fraudulent returns and prevent further processing of them, as well as improvements to the way identity theft cases are handled.
In most cases, if someone uses your information to file a tax return, he is looking to get your tax refund. You'll want to work with the IRS as soon as you discover the identity theft to ensure that your actual return is processed as quickly as possible. And you should consider placing holds on your accounts to prevent additional loss from theft.
In many cases, when someone files a tax return using your Social Security number, you won’t find out until after the second return is filed. The second return could be from you or the person who has stolen your information.
When the IRS receives two different returns with the same Social Security number, the return will be rejected if you e-filed or you’ll get a written notice that explains that a return has already been filed if you paper filed your return. Even if you don’t get a letter from the IRS but suspect a fraudulent return has been filed with your information, you can still take action.
When you discover another a tax return has been filed with your Social Security number, you’ll use IRS Form 14039 to alert the IRS. When you complete this form, you’ll indicate that someone has stolen your identity and it has affected your tax account since they have filed a return using your identifying information. You’ll also provide information about the tax year affected and the last return you filed prior to the identity theft.
After you complete Form 14039, mail it to the IRS with a copy of your Social Security card and driver’s license. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can substitute a U.S. Passport, military ID or other government-issued identification card.
If you received an IRS notice concerning the fraudulent return, include a copy of the notice. Mail the form and documents to the address shown in your notice.
If you did not receive an IRS notice, mail your documents to:
- Internal Revenue Service
- P.O. Box 9039
- Andover, MA 01810-0939
When someone has enough of your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return, she can use your identity to commit other crimes. In addition to alerting the IRS, you should place a freeze on your credit report file with all three credit bureaus to prevent unauthorized accounts from being opened. The Federal Trade Commission also suggests filing an identity theft report with your local police department, and also with the FTC online.