With the deadline looming for taxpayers, the crunch will be on for people scrambling to get their final documents together and submit their official tax return. Imagine this scenario. You submit your tax return only to receive a rejection notice from the IRS several weeks later saying that they have already received a tax return submitted by you already. How’s that for a situation that is sure to rock your world.
Unfortunately, in today’s world all you really need are some social security numbers and the internet to start winning at the tax return identity theft game. According to TIME Magazine, in 2013 alone more than 5.8 Billion in refunds were issued to criminals who were using other people’s personal information. The scale, scope, and execution of these fraud schemes have grown substantially in size.
What should you do if someone stole your tax refund?
- Don’t panic. You will likely only figure this out after the IRS rejects your ‘real’ tax return
- Go to irs.gov and pull down form 14039 to file a report with the IRS. You will need to let them know your identity was stolen, the tax year that was affected, and the last year you were able to process a tax return. Along with this form, you’ll need to send in a copy of your Social Security card and a copy of your driver’s license or a U.S. passport.
- If you are really concerned, you can always called the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unity at 800-908-4490 and report the case on that line as well. You be assigned a tracking number and a PIN as well.
- You should contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to be sure you put a freeze on your credit report
- For added protection, you could file a report with your local police and an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Make sure you also contact your state Government if you file state income taxes because it’s likely that a fraudulent return was filed in that state as well.
- You’ll end up going through a lot of extra time getting your refund back if this happened to you this year, and you’ll be issued PIN numbers from the IRS to safeguard your future returns.
If your identity is stolen, the hardest part of this process is going to be the wait and it generally won’t get fixed in a week or two. You may also want to notify your banks, brokerage companies, or other organizations to put them on alert that your identity may have been stolen. Use these smart money moves to help you know what to do if someone steals your tax refund!