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Tax Tip: How to handle a notification of tax-related identity theft

Did you get a notification from IRS or the Social Security Administration (SSA) advising you that you might be a victim of tax-related identity (ID) theft? If yes, it is important to visit our Identity Theft Get Help page and follow the steps there, as well as in the correspondence you received.

How will you know if you are a victim of tax-related ID theft?

You may find out you’re a victim of tax-related ID theft when you try to file your tax return or start getting IRS notices about your tax account.

The most common indicators are:

  • You try to file your tax return electronically, but the IRS rejects your return because it has already received another return using your Social Security Number (SSN) or ITIN;

  • You receive an IRS notice showing you received wages from somewhere you never worked;

  • You receive an IRS letter indicating one or more tax returns have been filed using your SSN or ITIN that you did not file.

Or you may receive a notice from the SSA stating benefits will be reduced or stopped based on IRS records indicating you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.

There are several steps you may need to take. The right ones for you are based on what’s happening with your tax account.

TAS’s Identity Theft Get Help page will walk you through the steps you need to take for each of the common indicators above and others too.

The IRS Taxpayer Protection Program identifies potential ID theft tax returns as a precautionary measure to protect you. If you receive a Letter 4883C, 5071C, 5747C, 6330C or 6331C, respond as soon as possible, following the instructions in the letter. Be aware that not all letters have the same options for verifying your identity, so it is important to follow the instructions given.

Protecting your tax account in future years

When the IRS determines you’re the rightful owner of the SSN (or ITIN) and confirms tax-related ID theft occurred, IRS will assign you an IRS Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN), a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your information. The IRS assigns you a new IP PIN every year. This is an extra layer of security; a valid IP PIN must be entered on electronic and paper tax returns to avoid rejections or delays.

Anyone who can to verify their identity may now voluntarily opt into the IP PIN program as a proactive way to protect against tax-related ID theft. Even though you may not have a filing requirement, an IP PIN still protects your account. You can also see our NTA Blog: Identity Protection PIN Can Protect You From Tax-Related Identity Theft or IRS’s FAQs about the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) for more information about this special program.

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