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February 21, 2019


The IRS is requiring certain verification of identities during phone calls in an attempt to prevent tax fraud. Taxpayers and tax professionals must have the required verification in order for the IRS to answer questions regarding certain tax items. By law, the IRS telephone assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or the taxpayer's legally designated representative. In order to prevent multiple phone calls, taxpayers and tax preparers should have the following information ready:

Confirming taxpayers' identities during calls. Whether you are the taxpayer calling about your return or a representative for the client, the IRS may need to ask for the following information.

  • Social security numbers (SSN) and birth dates for individuals on tax return 
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a SSN
  • Filing status as shown on the return such as single, head of household, married filing jointly or married filing separate
  • The prior-year tax return which was filed. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the prior year return such as adjusted gross income and tax liability as shown on the return.
  • A copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer related to the return in question 

If you are a third-party authorized to contact the IRS, they may ask for some additional information during the calls. This could include:

  • Verbal or written authorization from the taxpayer on the phone allowing the third-party to discuss the account 
  • Preparer's Tax Identification Number (PTIN) or PIN or CAF number of a third-party designee 
  • A current, completed and signed Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization for, or a completed and signed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative 
  • In many cases the agent will ask the representative for other information as well including their date of birth and their social security number to verify they are speaking with the proper representative

If the call to the IRS is in regards to a deceased taxpayer, be prepared to fax the following information to the agent:

  • The decreased taxpayer's death certificate, and 
  • Either copies of Letters Testamentary approved by the court, an IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (for estate executors), or Trust Authorization agreement giving the trustee the power to act on the behalf of the trust.

Alternatives for answers
If your question or issue relates to your prior refund or how to complete a form, there are easier ways to obtain this information than waiting on the phone to talk with an agent. You can check out the IRS website at for instructions to forms, frequently asked questions, and how to follow up on your refund.

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