Tax-Related Identity Theft: What Now? Published September 28, 2017
At Tax Guard, we receive many different questions from our partners. One that continues to pop up is, “My client has been a victim of ID theft on their taxes, what should they do now?”
This can be a scary experience for your client. Expect to see this continue to occur for the foreseeable future due to several IRS data breaches as well as the recent Equifax breach. Although it can be a lengthy process to negotiate, the IRS has provided some guidelines to help victims.
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
Your tax preparer or the IRS may contact you about suspicious activity, including but not limited to:
- More than one tax return was filed using your SSN.
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
What to do if you are a victim
As it relates to the IRS:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your efiled return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN or you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail according to instructions.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, call 1-800-908-4490.
The Federal Trade Commission also recommends these victims file a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
- Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 800-525-6285
- Experian, www.Experian.com, 888-397-3742
- TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 800-680-7289
Lastly, contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.
Your clients may be worried and not know what to do, but you can be the hero and provide this information to them. The IRS can be scary for many people, but they are ready and willing to help victims of financial crimes.