Even the most cautious taxpayer can become the target of identity theft. Be aware of the following signs of stolen identity:
- Attempts to file a tax return electronically are rejected because a return with a duplicate Social Security number has been filed. First, the taxpayer should check to make sure numbers weren’t transposed on the return or a dependent such as a college-age child did not file a tax return and claim themselves. If all the return information is accurate and the system still won’t accept the return, there is a serious possibility of identity theft. A Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit will need to be completed, attached to the top of a paper tax return and mailed to the IRS.
- A letter from the IRS asks for verification regarding a tax return bearing the taxpayer’s name and SSN. The IRS holds suspicious tax returns and sends taxpayers letters to verify them. Taxpayers who did not file the tax return, should follow the instructions in the IRS letter immediately.
- An employer unknown to the taxpayer sends income information at tax time. Employment-related identity theft involves the use of Social Security Numbers by someone, generally an undocumented worker, for employment purposes only.
- An unrequested tax refund is sent to the taxpayer. Victims of identity theft may receive a paper refund check by mail that the thief intended to have sent elsewhere. The victim should return the check to the IRS after writing “VOID” in the endorsement section and including an explanatory note. If it is a direct deposit refund, taxpayers are expected to contact their bank and request that the refund be returned to the IRS.
- Receipt of an unrequested tax transcript by mail may indicate identity theft. Identity thieves may test the validity of the personal data they have chosen or attempt to use your data to steal even more information. The receipt of an unrequested tax transcript in the mail should be treated as an indication the taxpayer has been targeted by identity thieves.
- A reloadable, pre-paid debit card that was not requested arrives in the mail. Identity thieves sometimes use a taxpayer’s name and address to create an account for a reloadable prepaid debit card that they use for various schemes, including tax-related identity theft.
If you have any questions about these issues, please contact us.