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As tax-related identity theft has become more prevalent over the past five years, the IRS is taking steps to stop these fraudulent returns. Nonetheless, there are a few warning signs to look for that can indicate you may be a victim:
  • E-filing of return rejected, often the code indicates a return has already been filed under your SSN
  • Correspondence from IRS regarding a filed return before filing a return for that tax year
  • A bill or refund check from the IRS when no return has been filed
  • A notice from the IRS indicating you may be a victim

  • If any of the above occur, there are steps you can and should take to address the potential identity theft:
  • Contact your tax professional, as they can help you navigate these steps.
  • File IRS form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit - The IRS will then mark your account and look for questionable activity.
  • Contact the IRS at the number on the notice, if you received one.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration
  • Review your Social Security account online
  • Notify the three major credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  • File a police report
  • Close any accounts that are not yours

  • Once the IRS confirms you are a victim, they will issue an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) for the taxpayer to use when filing their return, whether they file electronically or on paper. The IP PIN is a six digit number, and is sent in a letter each December. Identity theft victims will receive a new IP PIN for each tax year; know that if for any reason you misplace your IP PIN, you can request a new one online. This IP PIN is how the IRS verifies that it's truly the taxpayer filing a return; if you file without it, they will assume it's a fraudulent return. Please also note that the IRS has sent the letters for 2015, but made a subsequent announcement that the incorrect year of 2014 was printed on the letter.

    The IRS also has a pilot program where any taxpayer, including dependents, can request an IP PIN if you reside in the following locations: the District of Columbia, Florida and Georgia. It is highly recommended that if you qualify under this program, you do request an IP PIN as an added layer of protection against identity theft.

    Finally, the IRS will provide copies of fraudulent returns to taxpayers filed under his/her SSN for the current year and up to six previous years. To obtain a copy, the taxpayer must submit a written request including the following information:
    1.    Name
    2.    SSN
    3.    Mailing address
    4.    Tax years requested
    5.    Copy of government issued ID (driver's license or passport), and
    6.    The statement, "I declare that I am the taxpayer."
    The statement must be signed by the taxpayer or by his/her authorized representative. We recommend also attaching a copy of the signed Power of Attorney, if signed by an authorized representative.

    Requests should be mailed to the IRS at:
    PO Box 9039
    Andover, MA 01810-0939
    The IRS will acknowledge receipt of your request within 30 days and will provide the requested returns or follow-up correspondence within 90 days.
    Additional information, resources and tools are available here:
    If you suspect you are a victim, contact your professional local at UHY LLP, or visit us online at


    By Janelle Saylor, CPA