Identity Theft & Taxes

What happens when an identity thief uses your personal information to file a tax return? The short answer is a catastrophe!  When an identity thief files a fraudulent tax return, the victim may not receive a tax refund check, or, the victim may end up owing the IRS taxes when no taxes are actually owed!

The IRS has identified a couple of signs for tax identity theft.  For example, if you receive a notice from the IRS that you have filed more than one tax return, you may be a victim of identity theft.  An identity thief may use a taxpayer’s social security number to file a tax refund before the taxpayer does.  However, the IRS may believe the taxpayer already filed and received their refund because a tax return has already been filed before the legitimate tax return.  The taxpayer will not discover the identity theft until the IRS sends the taxpayer a letter indicating that more than one return was filed with the social security number.

Also, if the IRS lists employers that you have never worked for, then you may be a victim of identity theft.  Identity thieves use someone else’s social security number to get a job.  When an impostor uses your social security number to get a job, the employer reports income that you did not earn.  To the IRS, it appears that the taxpayer did not report all of their income on their tax return. As a result, the IRS may send a letter to the taxpayer that additional wages were earned that were not claimed on their taxes.

What should you do if you are a victim of tax identity theft?

If you believe that you are a victim of tax identity theft, then you should contact the IRS immediately.  The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) can be contacted at 1-800-908-4490.  The IRS has agents trained in filing your tax return, and they can assist you in getting your tax refund.  It is helpful to provide the IRS with a police report or the IRS ID Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).  In addition, you will need to prove your identity by providing the IRS with a copy of a valid government-issued identification, such as your driver’s license or passport.

Next, you should request your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union due to fraud or identity theft.  Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to 2 free credit reports every year if they believe they are a victim of fraud or identity theft.  Upon receipt of a request for a credit report and an identity theft report, the consumer reporting agencies must provide you with a free credit report.

Once you receive your credit reports, you should dispute any errors on your credit report.  You dispute should include any inaccurate personal identifying information (name, address, date of birth, phone numbers, social security number variations), public records (bankruptcies, judgments, tax liens), accounts, and inquiries.  Your dispute should be sent by certified mail to all of the consumer credit reporting agencies.

Our firm represents consumers who have credit report errors.  Our firm also represents victims of identity theft.  we have offices in Atlanta, Birmingham and Dallas, and we can meet with you to discuss your case.  If you need help disputing credit report errors, then contact us at 1-800-263-9091 24/7 for a free case evaluation.