Have you ever tried to file your taxes only to find out that a return has already been filed under your Social Security Number (SSN)…or even worse, under your child’s SSN?
Someone stole your Social Security Number and used it to file a tax return to claim your refund!
We know this may sound bizarre, but this is becoming a very common form of tax identity theft.
Last year, the IRS sent out over 5 million automated audit inquiries. In 2014, 1 out of every 14 Americans had their identity stolen. These are frightening experiences that can happen to any tax payer.
There are ways to help prevent it and to protect you from thieves looking to steal your information.
- Thoroughly research reputable tax preparers before you trust someone with your sensitive documents
- File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can
- Use a secure internet connection (look for “https” instead of simply “http”)
- If you mail your return, send it directly from the post office
- SHRED any tax-related documents if they need to be discarded
Knowing the warning signs of identity theft can help prevent any further damage from occurring.
You might be a victim of tax identity theft if you received a notice from the IRS informing you that:
- More than one tax return was filed for you
- IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned
- You owe additional tax or have had collective actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return
- Your state or federal benefits were reduced or cancelled because the agency received information reporting a change in income
If you think someone has used your Social Security Number for a tax refund you should contact the IRS immediately. The IRS have specialists available to help you get your tax refund filed properly.
- You will need to first contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit or call 1-800-908-4490
- You will then need to update your files
- Record the dates and times you made calls or sent letters
- Keep copies of letters on file for personal reference
- Put a fraud alert on your credit reports
Always remember not to open emails or text messages that claim to be from the IRS. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers electronically to request personal or financial information.
We’ve partnered with Protection Plus to provide you with access to an experienced professional to aid you directly and thoroughly through this process. The audit assistance will provide coverage on your 2015 federal tax return, and the identity theft restoration services provide assistance in the event of stolen credit cards, compromised bank accounts, fraudulent tax returns, or other identity theft incidents. Many of our clients choose this benefit for the peace of mind it provides and we recommend you do the same. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more.
For any additional online tax questions, check out The Handy Tax Guy FAQ page.
Disclosure Statement: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The Handy Tax Guy makes no absolute representation to the correctness, mistakes, omissions, delays, appropriateness, or legitimacy of any information on this site.
**Note: Each client circumstance will vary on a case by case basis**