There are several steps you may need to take. The right ones for you are based on what’s happening with your tax account.
You tried to file electronically, but the IRS said someone already filed using your Social Security number (SSN)
If you can’t file your tax return electronically because someone has already used your SSN to file a tax return, you must file a paper tax return, along with an affidavit (see below) explaining that you are a victim of identity theft. You will need to:
The IRS sent a letter saying it received a tax return with your name and SSN
If you get an IRS letter that requests you to verify your identity, it’s possible someone used your SSN to file a tax return. The IRS Taxpayer Protection Program identifies potential identity theft returns as a precautionary measure to protect you. If you receive an IRS Letter 4883C, IRS Letter 5071C or IRS Letter 5747C, you will need to:
- Contact the toll-free Identity Verification line at 800-830-5084 immediately if you didn't file the tax return or don’t have a filing requirement. Be prepared to verify your identity. Have the following information accessible when you contact the IRS:
- Respond to the letter as soon as possible, following the instructions in the letter.
- The IRS letter, and
- A copy of your current and prior year returns, including all schedules (if applicable).
- Contact the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) appointment line at 844-545-5640 within 30 days of the date of the letter to schedule an appointment. Bring the information and identity documents listed on your letter to your appointment. You don’t need to visit the TAC if you didn't file the tax return; however, you must contact the Identity Verification line listed above.
- Don't complete an IRS Form 14039 unless directed to do so.
The IRS sent a letter saying you didn’t report all your income on your tax return
If you get a letter that says you didn’t report all of your income and you don’t recognize the names of the companies where the income was earned, it’s possible someone used your SSN for employment purposes. You should:
- Respond to the letter as soon as possible, following the instructions in the letter;
- Fill out a IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit; and
- Submit your response and documents to the address indicated on the IRS letter.
Your information has been stolen, and you want to protect your tax account
If you know your information has been compromised due to a lost or stolen wallet or for some other reason, you should alert the IRS. This allows the IRS to take steps to secure your account.
The IRS has a specialized unit dealing with identity theft - you can also contact them.
Identity Protection Specialized Unit
Toll-free phone number: 1 (800) 908-4490
Hours: Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time (Alaska and Hawaii use Pacific Time)
Note: If you’ve made a police report, you can submit that to the IRS instead of IRS Form 14039.
Other actions you can take to protect yourself if your identity may have been stolen
Your refund is delayed due to ID theft and it’s causing a financial hardship
If you're facing a financial hardship, you should contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Examples of financial hardship are an upcoming eviction, your utilities are about to be shut off, or you're unable to pay for medical care.