Scammers sometimes use stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and collect refunds.
To prevent this, the IRS scans every tax return for signs of fraud.
If the system finds a suspicious tax return, the IRS reviews the return and sends a letter to the taxpayer letting them know about the potential ID theft. The IRS won’t process the suspicious tax return until the taxpayer responds to the IRS letter.
The IRS may send the following identify fraud letters to taxpayers, with instructions to to call the IRS to verify their identity and tax return information, of if the taxpayer didn’t file a return:
- Letter 5071C, Potential Identity Theft with Online Option: This tells the taxpayer to use an online tool.
- Letter 4883C, Potential Identity Theft: This tells the taxpayer to call the IRS Taxpayer Protection Program hotline number on the letter.
- Letter 5747C, Potential Identity Theft In Person Appointment: This tells the taxpayer to visit a local Taxpayer Assistance Center, or if the taxpayer didn’t file a return, to call the Taxpayer Protection Program hotline number on the letter.
- Letter 5447C, Potential Identity Theft Outside the U.S.: This tells the taxpayer to use an online tool.
Taxpayers should follow those steps in the identity theft letter to resolve the matter with the IRS.
If taxpayers need to advise the IRS that they’ are an identity theft victim, or that they think they may be a victim, they can file Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. If a taxpayer has already received an IRS letter about identity theft, they don’t need to file an affidavit.
If the taxpayer received an IRS identity theft letter, they don’t need to file an identity theft affidavit
Victims of identity theft can find more resources on reporting and recovering from ID theft with the Federal Trade Commission: identitytheft.gov.