Alvin Brown & Associates is a tax law firm specializing in IRS issues and problems in 50 states and abroad. 888-712-7690 Fax: (888) 832 8828
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New York, NY 10022
Saturday, October 27, 2012
FS-2012-7, January 2012
Identity theft occurs when
someone uses another’s personal information without their permission to commit
fraud or other crimes using the victim’s name, Social Security number or other
identifying information. When it comes to federal taxes, taxpayers may not be
aware they have become victims of identity theft until they receive a letter
from the Internal Revenue Service stating more than one tax return was filed
with their information or that IRS records show wages from an employer the
taxpayer has not worked for in the past.
The IRS has announced the
availability of additional information for taxpayers caught by identity theft
as part of a larger, comprehensive identity theft strategy focused on fraud
protection and victim assistance.
The IRS has created a special
section on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft matters, including tips for
taxpayers and a special guide to assistance ranging from contacting the IRS
Identity Protection Specialized Unit to tips to protect against “phishing”
schemes. The IRS also is taking a number of additional steps this tax season to
prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs.
Fighting identity theft will be
an ongoing battle, as identity thieves continue to create new ways of stealing
personal information and using it for their gain. Identity theft cases are
among the most complex handled by the IRS. The IRS is continually reviewing
processes and policies to minimize the incidence of identity theft and to help
those who find themselves victimized by it.
If a taxpayer receives a notice
from the IRS indicating identity theft, they should follow the instructions in
that notice. A taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft due to
lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the
agency can take action to secure their tax account. The taxpayer should contact
the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. The taxpayer will
be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit,Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the
back of the form based on their situation.
Over the past year, the IRS has
developed a comprehensive identity theft strategy that is focused on
preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible.
This occurs as the IRS continues to balance delivering tax refunds in the
intended timeframe while ensuring that appropriate compliance controls are in
place to minimize errors and fraud.
The IRS is taking a number of
steps to prevent identity theft, and detect and stop identity theft attempts.
This includes designing new identity theft screening filters that will improve
the IRS’s ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a
refund is issued, as well as placing identity theft indicators on taxpayer
accounts to track and manage identity theft incidents. IRS Criminal
Investigation, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, is also
diligent in investigating criminals who perpetrate these crimes.
A pilot program begun in 2010 to
mark the accounts of deceased taxpayers to prevent misuse by identity thieves
is expanding. The IRS has also expanded an initiative this year to protect
victims with previously confirmed cases of identity theft. In late 2011, a
group of taxpayers received a special Identity Protection Personal
Identification Number, or IP PIN, for use in filing their tax returns for this
filing season. The IRS is additionally working to speed up case resolution,
provide more training for employees who assist victims of identity theft, and
step up outreach to taxpayers.