Are You a Victim of Identity Theft? Here’s What To Do

As extension season awaits us in less than three months, there are many taxpayers who will discover that they have fallen victim to identity theft. The IRS has recently clarified measures to take if you happen to fall into that category, which should not be taken lightly.

The most common way of discovering that you have fallen victim to identity theft occurs upon electronically filing your tax return.

Taxpayers attempting to file a tax return that the IRS rejects because another return under the taxpayer’s Social Security number has already been filed are likely victims of identity theft. If a taxpayer receives this rejection code upon e-filing their return, they should immediately turn to the IRS website and obtain Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit or contact a tax professional. Identity theft victims will want to fill out Form 14039 and attach it to a paper tax return before mailing the complete package to the IRS for filing. Upon receipt, the IRS will investigate the matter and clear the account before processing the paper tax return.

Form 14039 does not need to be filed if the IRS has sent letters, 4883C, 5071C, or 5747C, asking the taxpayer to contact the IRS to verify his or identity. Suspicious tax returns are sometimes identified ahead of time by the IRS using filters in their computer systems. If the IRS discovers a suspicious return, they will typically send one of the three letters referenced above to the taxpayer.

It is important to not rely on the IRS to discover these cases, however. If you receive a rejection code upon e-filing your return, and have not heard from the IRS, it is imperative to take swift action and file Form 14039 promptly in order to resolve the matter.

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