Filing An Identity Theft Affidavit
A person is the victim of identity theft when his or her stolen personal identifiable information (PII) is used to open a credit card, purchase a vehicle, obtain a mortgage, or open an account without that person’s consent or knowledge. Tax-related identity theft, on the other hand, occurs when a taxpayer’s information is used to file a tax return in an attempt to claim a false refund. This type of activity occurs at an alarming rate in the U.S. Fortunately, there are steps that taxpayers can take to combat it. If you received a notice that your identity may have been stolen, or you were the victim of tax fraud, you should consider reaching out to an experienced tax lawyer who can help ensure that your interests are protected.
What is Tax-Related Identity Theft?
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone steals a taxpayer’s Social Security Number (SSN) and uses it to file a false tax return, claiming a fraudulent refund. Fortunately, the IRS is often able to identify these suspicious tax returns before issuing the refund and will wait to process that return until they have reached out and heard back from the affected taxpayer. In these cases, the IRS will send Letter 5071C or Letter 4883C, both of which require the taxpayer to verify his or her identity. Taxpayers who receive these letters don’t need to take any further steps, but should follow the directions in the letter.
Signs of Tax-Related Identity Theft
It can be difficult to know when a taxpayer has become a victim of tax fraud. There are, however, a few signs that taxpayers can and should keep an eye out for. For instance, if a taxpayer finds that she is unable to file a tax return online because a duplicate tax return was already filed using the same SSN, then there’s a good chance that she is a victim of tax-related identity theft. Other signs of potential tax fraud include:
- Not being able to file an online tax return because a dependent’s SSN or ITIN was already used by someone else;
- Receiving a tax transcript in the mail that the taxpayer didn’t request;
- Receiving a notice from a tax preparation software company confirming the creation of an online account in the taxpayer’s name (and the person didn’t create one);
- Receiving a notice from a tax preparation company that the taxpayer’s existing account was accessed or disabled despite that person not taking such an action;
- Receiving an IRS notifying a taxpayer of additional tax owed, that a refund was offset to balance a debt, or that the agency has taken collection action against the taxpayer after reviewing a tax return that he or she has not yet submitted;
- Receiving a notice from the IRS indicating that he or she received wages from an employer for whom the taxpayer never worked; and
- Being assigned an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for which the taxpayer didn’t apply.
If this happens, a taxpayer should complete and submit Form 14039, which is an Identity Theft Affidavit, right away.
Call a Dedicated Florida Tax Attorney
If you believe that you were the victim of tax fraud or tax-related identity theft, call experienced CPA, former FBI Special Agent, and dedicated Florida tax lawyer Ronald Cutler, P.A. today for help.