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Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return. Usually, the tax return is filed with your name, Social Security Number (SSN), and other identifying information in an attempt to obtain a fraudulent refund.

Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that:

  • More than one tax return for you was filed,
  • You have a balance due, refund offset, or have had collection actions taken against you for a year in which you did not file a tax return, or
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.

If you believe that someone else has filed a return using your SSN, you should contact the IRS immediately. You can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490, or contact the general customer service number at 1-800-829-1040. If you believe you may be at risk for tax related identity theft, fill out IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit and either fax or mail it to the IRS so they can mark your account to identify any questionable activity (the fax number and mailing address are provided on the form).  If you'd like to complete IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039 electronically, you may do so by visiting the FTC's IdentityTheft.gov and starting an identity theft recovery plan.

Visit the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft for more information.

For security reasons, TaxAct is not able to provide any information concerning another return that you did not file. However, we are happy to cooperate with the IRS and law enforcement agencies in any investigation.

Action To Take

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should:

  • File a report with your local police
  • Contact the IRS immediately
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three credit bureaus (see the ID Theft Tool Kit for contact information), and 
  • Check your credit card activity and close any accounts that have been tampered with.

The IRS is creating a new form to allow identity theft victims to consent to the disclosure of a fraudulent return to local law enforcement agencies. Currently, IRS Form 8821 should be used for this purpose.

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