How to alert the IRS of identity theft, how to file your return, and how long your refund will take
After all the time and hassle it takes to complete your tax return, you finally hit the e-file button, glad to know that all of your tax troubles are over until next year, only to have your return rejected by the IRS. A tax return has already been filed with your social security number!
There’s a sinking feeling in your gut and an enveloping sense of dread. What do you do? How will you ever get your refund money now?
The first thing to do is to double check all of the information on your return, especially your name and Social Security number and those of your spouse and dependents. Sometimes this error can be caused by a simple typo.
If it turns out that all of the information on your return is correct, call the IRS and alert them to the fact that your identity has been stolen. The IRS actually has a Identity Protection Specialized Unit and a number, 1-800-908-4490, dedicated to telephone assistance for individuals who believe they may be a victim of identity theft.
You will also have to file Form 14039 [Identity Theft Affidavit] along with photocopies of at least one document verifying your identity. Permissible documents include a passport, driver’s license, social security card, or other valid U.S. Federal or State government issued identification.
You can either mail or fax the form in to the IRS. If you weren’t able to e-file your tax return, you should print it out and mail it in to the IRS along with Form 14039 and the copies of your identification.
You can mail these forms and documents to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810
Or fax them to (978) 684-4542
Identity theft is certainly a serious problem, but you can rest easy knowing that the IRS deals with this sort of thing all the time. They should be able to resolve everything so that you can file your return and get your refund. You may also receive a special Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) to help protect your identity the next time you file taxes.
The bad news is that you are going to have to wait a long time for your refund. You are being punished for having done nothing wrong, but such is life. There’s no telling how long it will take the IRS to resolve an issue like this. They have to review all the evidence before finally making a decision, and then your return has to go through all the normal processing that it would have anyway. Best case scenario, you get your refund in six to eight weeks. Note, this is best case scenario. It could be several months or even up to a year before the IRS can get your refund out.
Last year there were 1.1 million cases of identity theft and tax fraud, which makes this a problem affecting an alarmingly high percentage of taxpayers. The IRS has implemented changes to their system for the 2013 tax season which should hopefully cut down on the instances of identity theft, but these have also caused problems that are delaying processing, further pushing back refunds.
Remember, even if your identity is stolen you can still use PriorTax to file past due tax, you’ll just have to mail your return in.
Photo via B Rosen on Flickr.
Tags: identity theft