So you file your tax return and find that the refund has been payed, but you did not get it, you may be a victim of a type of identity theft. Taxpayer identity theft has been in the news as of late. More and more identity theft stories about people finding that there taxes have already been filed are coming out all the time.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported that in 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified over 245,000 taxpayer identity theft incidents that affected the tax system. The hundreds of thousands of taxpayers with tax problems caused by identity theft represent a small percentage of the expected 140 million individual returns filed, but for those affected, the problems can be quite serious. In 2008, the number was 51,700.
This type of identity theft commonly happens when a criminal submits a return for a refund early in the tax filing season. When the actual taxpayer files there tax return later in the season the Internal Revenue Service will advise them that two returns have been filed using the same social security number.
Once this happens the victim will have to prove their identity using a federal or state issued ID such as a passport or drivers license along with a police report. This must be submitted along with IRS Form 14039 which will need to include a short description of the problem along with detailed information about yourself. Taxpayers must then wait for the IRS to determine which filing was legitimate. However, once fraud is discovered, the agency marks the SS number and carefully screens future submissions.
Because of the timing of tax return filing, the IRS is often unable to detect suspicious cases until well after the taxpayer identity theft has occurred. Validating this type of identity theft and substantiating the victim’s identity takes further time. For example, IRS may not be able to detect employment fraud until after the following year’s tax filing deadline of April 15 when it matches income reported by employers against taxpayers’ filed returns. It is only after IRS notifies a taxpayer of unreported income that IRS may learn from the taxpayer that the income was not the taxpayer’s and that someone else must have been using his or her identity. By the time both the victim and IRS determine that an identity theft incident occurred, well over a year may have passed since the employment fraud.
At identitytheftstories.net we look to these sites and others for further information about identity theft related issues and solutions. We hope that you will find them useful as well.
Identity Theft - United States Postal Inspection Service
Esther Reed - Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
Identity Theft Facts
LifeLock Inc.: Information from Answers.com