IRS / ITRC Fact Sheet 143
How Identity Theft Affects your Taxes

The following information has been provided to the ITRC by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Identity Protection. This IRS/ITRC Fact Sheet gives the consumer or victim a comprehensive look at the efforts of the IRS to address IRS issues caused by identity theft.

How Identity Theft Affects your Taxes

There are several situations in which identity theft can affect the processing of a tax return.  Most involve someone misusing someone’s Social Security number (SSN), which the IRS uses to make sure the filing is authentic and that the taxpayer receives any refund they are due.

It could be a sign of identity theft if a taxpayer receives an IRS notice that:

  • More than one tax return was filed for one tax year, or
  • IRS records indicate a taxpayer received wages from an employer they don’t know.

If someone uses a taxpayer’s SSN to file for a tax refund before the taxpayer does, the IRS may believe the taxpayer has already filed and received their refund. The taxpayer might not know this until they get a letter from the IRS indicating that more than one return was filed for them.

If someone has used a taxpayer’s SSN to get a job, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using the taxpayer’s SSN, making it appear to the IRS as if the taxpayer did not report all of their income on their tax return. In that situation, the IRS might send the taxpayer a notice that they appear to have received wages from an employer they don’t know.

If You Suspect Identity Theft - Contact the IRS

If you get a notice from the IRS, respond immediately to the name and number printed on the notice. If you think you have tax issues related to identity theft, let the IRS know as soon as possible, even if you don’t have any evidence that it has affected your tax return. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490.

Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your account from identity thieves in the future. You can document the identity theft by submitting a police report or the IRS ID Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).

You’ll have to prove your identity with a copy of a valid government-issued identification, like your Social Security card, driver’s license or passport.

 

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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