You go to file your tax return, only to get a notice back from the IRS that they already received a return for your social security number. For many people, this can be a frightening ordeal and unfortunately, it’s something that happens often. Someone may use your social security number to file a return in order to steal your tax return payment. So, if this happens to you, what do you do?
It’s important to always be aware of your tax filings. If you receive any notices from the IRS, be sure to read them and always review your taxes diligently. A few ways to tell that you’ve been a victim of identity fraud are:
- You try to file your taxes and the IRS says a tax return has already been filed.
- You owe taxes you didn’t think you owed, or have had actions taken against you that don’t seem right.
- Your return lists wages from a company or individual you did not work for.
- The IRS contacts you to tell you a second tax return has attempted to be filed under your name and social security number.
What to Do
If you filed first, the IRS will automatically cancel any secondary filing under the same SSN. You will be notified should this happen, so while you won’t have to do much, it’s important to contact the IRS and pay close attention to all of your records from here on out. You should also strongly consider closing your credit reports and filing a report with the police.
If you go to file and are unable, you must first send in IRS Form 14039. This form is meant to alert the IRS that you are a victim of identity fraud and will allow you to provide information to prove that you are who you say you are. You should send this form in along with copies of your social security card and driver’s license or other form of identity.
There are also cases where the IRS notices a tax return may be suspicious and will halt it before it goes through. If this happens, they will send you a letter titled Letter 5071C through the mail, which will ask you to verify your identity. You can do this online, on the phone or through the mail.
How to Prevent it
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid identity fraud, the earlier you send in your return, the less likely you are to become a victim of fraud. If you are worried that you may be a victim, or want to learn more ways to prevent yourself or your loved ones from becoming ones, contact the tax professionals at Levy Tax & Associates.