No matter how careful you are, identity thieves may be able to steal your personal information. If this happens, thieves try to turn that data quickly into cash by filing fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry want to work in partnership with you in their effort to combat identity theft and fraudulent returns.
That’s why the IRS has launched a public awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” See the security awareness tips below, that can help protect you from cybercriminals.
Here are a few signs that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft:
1. Your attempt to file your tax return electronically is rejected. You get a message saying a return with a duplicate Social Security number has been filed. First, check to make sure you did not transpose any numbers. Also, make sure one of your dependents, for example, your college-age child, did not file a tax return and claim themselves. If your information is accurate, and you still can’t successfully e-file because of a duplicate SSN, you may be a victim of identity theft. You should complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Attach it to the top of a paper tax return and mail to the IRS.
2. You receive a letter from the IRS asking you to verify whether you sent a tax return bearing your name and SSN. The IRS holds suspicious tax returns and sends taxpayers letters to verify them.
3. You receive income information at tax time from an employer unknown to you. Employment-related identity theft involves the use of your SSN by someone, generally an undocumented worker, for employment purposes only.
4. You receive a tax refund that you did not request. You may receive a paper refund check by mail that the thief intended to have sent elsewhere. If you receive a tax refund you did not request, return it to the IRS.
5. You receive a tax transcript by mail that you did not request. Identity thieves sometimes try to test the validity of the personal data they have chosen or they attempt to use your data to steal even more information.
More information about tax related identity theft can be found at the irs.gov.
As the Tax Program Coordinator here at Capstone Community Action, 20 Gable Place, Barre, I receive notices all year about tax issues that will affect our community. Now that we are preparing for this years’ tax season, I will be sharing articles from the IRS to assist us all to be prepared for filing 2016 years’ forms. If you need more information about these tax subjects, or have questions about our VITA tax program, please contact me, Laura Sudhoff. firstname.lastname@example.org.