Articles

March 3, 2014

Identity Theft Process and Procedures

There has been a noticeable increase in cases of identity theft accompanying the filing of tax returns. As a result, the IRS has implemented procedures to address the problem.

An identity thief generally uses an actual name and social security number to file a false return. The real taxpayer would not know about the false return until he attempts to electronically file his/her return or the IRS contacts the taxpayers that more than one return is filed.

One of our partners has had this happen and can attest to the frustration and inconvenience this causes. Based on his experience and best practices, here's what we suggest be done upon learning of identity theft through the IRS.

  • If you receive a notice from IRS or if the e-filing is rejected, respond immediately. Notify the IRS immediately by responding to the name and number printed on the notice or letter. If it is a rejected return, we will prepare a paper copy of the return for filing.
  • You will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
  • Contact all credit bureaus to see if any unknown credit application or inquiries have been made and put a freeze on your accounts.

We also recommend providing us with a power of attorney that will allow Wiss & Company LLP to represent you with the IRS and facilitate the matter.

Once the IRS has received your Identity Theft Affidavit and opened a case, it will be a minimum of 6 months and probably closer to 9 months before the situation is resolved. The IRS takes identity theft very seriously, but its staff is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it.

If you want or need to contact the IRS Identity Theft Group, the phone number is 1-800-908-4490.

The IRS suggests the following steps to prevent Identity Theft:

  • Don't carry your Social Security card or any document(s) with your SSN on it.
  • Don't give a business your SSN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
  • Protect your financial information.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches, and change passwords for Internet accounts.
  • Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

Questions or concerns about your security?  Call your Wiss rep today.