Recent years have seen an increase in tax-related identity theft. Unfortunately, some people experience it firsthand when they give criminals their personal information.
There could be problems if someone obtains your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and, worst of all, your Social Security number.
You can take steps to prevent identity theft, such as purchasing an identity theft protection software package (opens in a new tab).
These are useful for keeping track of things like credit reports (opens in a new tab) and often come with other useful tools built into the software suite that allows you to manage things like internet security (opens in a new tab) and internet usage with a built-in VPN (opens in new tab).
There are many variations on the theme, but get an identity theft protection package and you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to managing your personal and tax data (opens in a new tab).
Furthermore, you’ll want to be a little more vigilant in terms of security by reexamining how you handle your data. Taking a few simple steps to secure personal information and be more cautious with your data could pay off in the long run.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who must file taxes (opens in new tab) each year, you’ll notice that the process is becoming increasingly difficult for fraudsters to penetrate.
However, tax-related identity theft (opens in new tab) continues to be a problem, which is why the IRS is working to improve its systems. However, you will have to put forth some effort on your own.
Fortunately, the IRS has devised a method for enhancing the safety and security of your identity and associated data.
You can now log in with your username, password, and a third personal item if you’re using an online application to complete your tax filing (opens in a new tab).
It’s most likely a phone number here. Unsurprisingly, using this trio of secure options will keep your identity much safer.
Nonetheless, there are numerous dangers in the world. Many cases of tax-related identity theft (opens in new tab) go unnoticed at first, and problems aren’t usually discovered until you try to e-file (opens in new tab) your tax return.
The most common problem occurs when a person attempts to file a tax return but the IRS rejects it. This is frequently due to a fraudulent attempt to file one on your behalf.
Even if this occurs, you must still pay your taxes and file a tax return, which may necessitate the submission of a paper copy.
If you’ve become accustomed to the convenience of e-filing in recent years, this may seem strange, but it’s one of the drawbacks of being a victim of tax-related identity theft (opens in new tab).
Fortunately, the IRS has several tools at its disposal to help mitigate the damage.
Because your Social Security number is crucial for a variety of reasons, you’ll want to act quickly if you suspect it has been stolen or is being used fraudulently. If the IRS sends you a notice about its use, call the number on the notice as soon as possible.
If your e-filed tax return is rejected, it’s a sure sign that someone else tried to file with your information.
You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit if that happens (opens in new tab).
This is a fillable form available at IRS.gov that must be submitted along with a paper copy of your tax return to the address provided by the Internal Revenue Service when they contact you.
The IRS has copies of everything you send them, so any fraudulent tax return (opens in a new tab) filed in your name will be there as well. This document is available for download, though some sections may be hidden.
The best part is that you’ll be able to piece together whether or not someone is filing a fraudulent return.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has an online page (which opens in a new tab) that explains how to obtain this information.
You’ll need to start by filling out Form 4506-F, which must include your name and Social Security number.
After that, you’ll need to provide your mailing address and the tax year (or years) of the fraudulent returns you want to look at. Last but not least, you must sign.
Any situation that could lead to fraud or identity theft is serious, and requests can take time. This is especially true if the case is still under investigation.
According to the IRS, your request will be acknowledged within 30 days of its receipt. Within 90 days, you should receive a response or a follow-up.
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Meanwhile, remember to file your tax return (opens in a new tab) and pay any outstanding tax amounts. You’ll still have to meet the same deadlines as everyone else, which may seem impossible if you’re under duress.
However, it’s critical to try to provide the IRS with all of the necessary information promptly.
The IRS website (opens in a new tab) has a wealth of information to assist you in dealing with identity theft, and it should be your first stop if you need help during what can be a very stressful time.