Identify theft affects every aspect of its victims’ lives, and taxes are no exception. Fortunately, the IRS has resources dedicated to helping you minimize the damage related to the theft. However, in order to take proper advantage of these resources, you’ll need to do several things:
Get an IP PIN. The IRS automatically assigns Identity Protection PINs, or IP PINs, to certain taxpayers whose identity has been stolen or is at risk of being stolen. In addition, any taxpayer that file a return reporting a Georgia address, including Atlanta residents, can choose to get an IP PIN for any reason if they'd like one. You can apply for an IP PIN here. Once you receive an IP PIN, a tax return won't be able to be filed on your behalf without providing that IP PIN. As a result, applying for and receiving an IP PIN will prevent identity thieves from filing any tax returns on your behalf.
However, remember to provide the IP PIN to your tax preparer, or he or she won't be able to file your return either. Also, once you apply for an IP PIN, you cannot later "opt out" in future years - the IRS will assign you a new IP PIN each year.
File Form 14039. The IRS’s Form 14039 allows you to report identify theft that has already occurred as well as potential future identity theft. Fill out the form and follow its instructions very carefully. If you received a notice from the IRS about the identity theft, mail the forum to the address stated in the notice. If you are filing a paper return due to the misuse of your social security number, mail the form with your paper return to the address for your state in the instructions for the paper return.
Call the IRS. The IRS has a dedicated ID Protection Specialized Unit. You can call them at 1-800-908-4490.Making this call and explaining the issue to them will help them trace the theft and resolve it as cleanly as possible.
File Form 8822. The IRS’s Form 8822 allows you to report a change of address. Even if you haven’t moved recently, the identity theft may have resulted in your address records with the IRS being improperly altered. As a result, it’s imperative to file this form in order to keep sensitive IRS documentation meant for you from being sent elsewhere.
None of these steps replace other non-IRS-related measures taken when an identity theft occurs. As a result, you should also:
Contact the Social Security Administration. Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and explain the situation to them, much as you did with the IRS’s ID Protection Specialized Unit. This will further speed up the investigation into the matter, and reduce the risk of any improper changes to your social security records.
Freeze Your Credit. Contact each of the three major credit bureaus and request a credit freeze.
Equifax: Online here or call 1-800-525-6285
Experian: Online here or call 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: Online here or call 1-800-680-7289
Many states will not allow you to make a freeze request over the phone, so try starting online. There may be a small fee, depending on your state and the exact nature of your situation.
Freezing your credit will prevent anyone, including yourself, from accessing your credit report. This means no one will be able to use your information to fraudulently take out new loans or mortgages or apply for new credit cards.
You can unfreeze your credit later – but for now it’s crucial to take this step to minimize the risk to your long-term financial health.
File a Police Report. Finally, file a report with your local police describing the situation as best you can. This, again, will speed up the investigation and reduce the potential damage from the theft.
If you have any questions about the tax effects of your specific identity theft case, you should contact an Atlanta tax accountant.
This blog article is not intended to be the rendering of legal, accounting, tax advice or other professional services. Articles are based on current or proposed tax rules at the time they are written and older posts are not updated for tax rule changes. We expressly disclaim all liability in regard to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog as well as the use or interpretation of this information. Information provided in this website is not all inclusive and such information should not be relied upon as being all inclusive.