As we have seen in a previous blog, identity theft is rampant in our country—over 9+ million people a year are affected. This crime can cause huge problems for individuals in their everyday lives, and those problems can become even more complicated if the IRS and taxes are involved.
Identity theft is when a criminal steals your personal information. The IRS follows certain guidelines to assist taxpayers affected by identity theft, and these guidelines are constantly being updated. For instance, the IRS never initiates contact by email with a taxpayer. They will call you directly on the phone or send a letter. Email is not used at this point, so if you should receive one of these fake emails, forward it to the IRS (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Personal Information Theft and the IRS
If the IRS contacts you by letter and that letter says that you received wages from an employer you never heard of or that you filed more than one tax return, chances are you have become the victim of identity theft. Answer that letter immediately, using the contact info on the letter (name, address, or phone number of the IRS office). Another aspect of this situation is when a thief uses your social security number to obtain a job. His employer will file the government forms reporting employee income, and then you look like you are hiding income from the IRS. Once you find out about this situation, you must act aggressively to correct it.
Another scenario: Your wallet has been stolen, but you have no indication that your records have been compromised, but there is a chance of this. You need to report the crime to the police and get a copy of the police report. Then file a completed Form 14039, IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, that police report, and a copy of your government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license) with the IRS. What you are doing here is immediately supplying the IRS with proof of your identity before the thief has a chance to muck things up for you.
IRS Efforts to Protect
Since identity theft is on the rise in our electronic society, the IRS is constantly working to try to protect innocent taxpayers. In the last year or so, they have added or retrained about 3,000 employees to deal specifically with identity theft. Furthermore, they have added a new section called the Identity Protection Specialized Unit. Regularly, their tax form screening process is being upgraded so that they can find and stop fraudulent tax returns from being filed. The entire identity theft procedure is extremely complicated for the IRS has the victims go through a supplementary verification process. In this way, they ascertain the innocent victim in these cases and gather the data to be able to prosecute the wrong-doer.
The IRS admits that the identity theft cases are by far the most complex cases that they handle. This is the reason why, if you are the victim of identity theft, you need to immediately contact Jeff Fouts, Tax Lawyer, for he is an expert in dealing with this crime against you. It will take time and patience, but Mr. Fouts can help you sort this problem out and deal with the IRS agents assigned to you.