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  5. Identity Theft: What to Do if Someone Has Already Filed Taxes Using Your Social Security Number

Identity Theft: What to Do if Someone Has Already Filed Taxes Using Your Social Security Number

Updated for Tax Year 2022 • December 1, 2022 09:00 AM


OVERVIEW

If someone uses your information to file a fraudulent tax return, the person 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.


Identity theft - what to do if someone has fraudulently filed a tax return with your identity

Key Takeaways

• If someone has stolen your Social Security Number and filed a fraudulent tax return to receive your refund, your tax filing will be rejected if you try to e-file. If you mail in your tax return you will likely receive a written notice from the IRS.

• Use IRS Form 14039 to alert the IRS that someone has filed a return using your identification.

• The IRS may send you a "Letter 5071C" asking that you verify your identity. You can respond via telephone or through the IRS' online Identity Verification Service.

Notification

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 second return filed will be rejected if you e-filed or if you paper-filed you’ll get a written notice that explains that a return has already been filed. 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.

IRS Form 14039

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.

Sending Form 14039

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:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0025

 


 

TurboTax Tip: The IRS only notifies taxpayers of issues by mail. The IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone or via email. If you receive such calls or emails, they are likely a scam.

 


 

Request for Identity Verification from the IRS

When the IRS stops a suspicious tax return filing, they may send a letter called "Letter 5071C" asking that you verify your identity. It will include a couple ways to verify it: via a phone number or through the IRS's Identity Verification Service, https://idverify.irs.gov.

This online service is the quickest method and will ask you multiple-choice questions to verify whether or not the tax return flagged for further identity verification was filed by you or someone else. The IRS only sends such notices by mail. The IRS will not request that you verify your identity by contacting you by phone or through email. If you receive such calls or emails, they are likely a scam.

If you can't confirm your identity using the IRS' online Identity Verification Service, you can call the IRS at the phone number included in the letter.

When confirming your identity, you will need:

  1. Your name, date of birth and contact information
  2. Social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
  3. Your prior year tax return along with supporting documents such as W-2s, 1099s, and Schedules A and C if you filed them

Additional precautions

When someone has enough of your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return, they can use your identity to commit other crimes. In addition to alerting the IRS, you should consider placing 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.

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