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  • Donald E Heser & Mark Salgado

Tax Identity Theft

Tax season is upon us, and filing a tax return to get a refund in the bank can cause anxiety and excitement at the same time. However, if you e-filed a tax return only to be rejected by the IRS because your return with your SSN was already accepted, you may be a victim of Tax Identity Theft.

Tax Identity theft occurs when a thief uses your information, such as your SSN, to file a fraudulent tax return to get a refund from the IRS even if you would not receive a refund. When you go to file your return, it is rejected because it is the second time that SSN has been filed. Fraudsters only need your W-2 information to file a fraudulent return.

Fraudsters typically file returns early in the year before most people file to have the first return filed. If you do nothing you may lose out on your refund or, if you owned taxes and the fraudster filed a fake return receiving a refund, you will get a tax bill for what you would have owed plus the refund and any tax and penalties.

Steps to take with the IRS:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided on the notice. (Do not ignore)

  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your efiled return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN or you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at, print it, then attach the form to your return and mail it according to the instructions.

IRS Identity Verification Service

If you have been a victim of Tax Identity Theft here are some steps to take:

  • File a complaint with the FTC at

  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:

  • Equifax, 800-525-6285

  • Experian, 888-397-3742

  • TransUnion, 800-680-7289

  • Alert your financial institutions and close financial or credit accounts that could have been compromised.


Taxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator:

IRS Phone Number:

  • Individuals: 800-829-1040

  • Businesses: 800-829-4933

  • TTY/TDD people w/ hearing impairments: 800-829-4059

Before you call, make sure you know or have the following information handy:

  • Social Security cards and birth dates for those who were on the return you are calling about

  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN)

  • Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate

  • Your prior-year tax return. The IRS may need to verify your identity before answering certain questions

  • A copy of the tax return you’re calling about

  • Any letters or notices the IRS sent you and tax return for the year shown in the letter and tax return for the year previous

  • Any supporting W-2’s, 1099’s, Schedule C, Schedule F, etc.

Reference Sources:

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