What If Someone Stole My Tax Refund?

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 the USA Today, a government report in November said the IRS issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over last year to criminals who were using other people’s personal information.  Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the “scale, scope, and execution of these fraud schemes” has 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 www.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.

If you 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!

Written by: Ted Jenkin

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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4 Comments

  • April 14, 2014

    I had no idea that this was a scam… let alone a billion dollar one! Insanity!

  • Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves
    April 15, 2014

    It’s ridiculous and getting worse. Heard of another 10 to 20 cases this year just from talking to people.

  • Paul
    November 1, 2014

    Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a form 14039, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/qUSWIR. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.

  • Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves
    November 4, 2014

    You are welcome—it unfortunately happens to a ton of people- thanks for the comment

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