This is happening more and more—the latest General Accounting Office (GAO) report says that IRS paid out over $5.8 billion in fraudulent returns in 2013. The IRS does have security measures in place to verify the accuracy of tax returns and the validity of Social Security numbers submitted, but that hasn’t stopped the bad guys from filing returns using other people’s identities — early and often!
Filing your return early is actually a great way to thwart these fraudsters. By filing later, you give the bad guys more time to file a false return in your name.
If you receive a notice from the IRS that leads you to believe someone may have used your Social Security number fraudulently, or if your electronic filing is rejected, notify the IRS immediately by calling the IRS’ Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 800.908.4490. For the IRS to mark your account to identify any questionable activity, you must complete Form 14039, Identify Theft Affidavit. Mail or fax the form (one or the other, doing both will result in a delay) to the address or fax number listed on the form
The IRS is well aware of the uptick in fraudulent filings and is making efforts to prevent it, such as monitoring Internet “IP” addresses where multiple returns are filed and keeping track of the time it takes to fill out each return online. Scammers prepare returns in rapid succession, unlike most taxpayers, who typically put in time to make sure the information on their return is correct.
The IRS is providing increased protection with a personal pin number for taxpayers, known as an “IP PIN”—an identity protection pin.
An IP PIN is a six-digit number the IRS will assign you if you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft that helps prevent the misuse of your Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. IRS is not giving out IP Pins to everyone, but if you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft you’ll need one.
Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.
This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.
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