Victim of identity theft? Don’t let panic get the best of you.
After entering your tax information, you finally hit the e-file button, only to have your return rejected by the IRS. The reason; 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? Remain Calm. You’ll get through this.
Here’s what you should do now
The first thing to do is 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 fax these forms to:
You can mail these forms to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810
You can expect a delayed refund
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. The IRS needs to review all evidence before finally making a decision. Then your return has to endure all the normal processing that it would have initially.
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.
What is the IRS doing about identity theft?
You may have heard through the grapevine that the IRS is delaying refunds on taxpayers who claim certain credits. This is, in fact, true. The IRS has implemented changes to their system for the 2016 tax season which should hopefully cut down on the instances of identity theft and fraud. These have also caused problems that are delaying processing, further pushing back refunds. Identity theft is a serious matter. In the event that you or someone you know has fell victim to this crime, contact the IRS as soon as possible.
Remember, even if you’ve been subject to fraud, you can still use PriorTax to file past due tax, you’ll just have to paper file your returns by mailing them in.