What is ‘Identity Theft?’

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as name, social security number, or other information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

How can Identity Theft Affect Me?

Generally, an identity thief will use legitimate identity information to fraudulently file an income tax return using phony information to claim a refund to which they are not entitled.

Taxpayers are generally unaware this has occurred until they attempt to file their tax returns.  Upon e-filing of the return, the processing is halted for a ‘duplicate return’ rejection code.

You may also discover identity theft if you receive an IRS notice indicating a balance due or refund for something you did not file, or an IRS audit notice indicating missing wage information from an employer you did not work for.

What Do You Do?

If you receive a notice from the IRS, they ask you to respond immediately. You can notify the IRS that your identity has been compromised by filling out the new Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

Identity theft claims take a LONG time to process – generally 9 months or more.  If you have not received resolution to your case, or are under significant financial hardship, contact the Identity Protection Specalized Unit at 800-908-4490.


Information gleaned from the IRS ‘Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.’