CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - February 06, 2014) - Tax return and other tax-related identity theft is a growing epidemic throughout the nation. According to the IRS, in 2013, the service initiated 1,492 cases compared to 892 in 2012. Taxpayers can encounter identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways. Often, identity thieves attempt to file fraudulent refund claims after having stolen a person's Social Security number or forging a signature on another person's tax documents.
The more you know about how to protect your identity and what to do if a problem arises, the harder it is for identity thieves to make you a victim. Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the IRS or learn from your tax professional that:
- More than one tax return for you was filed;
- You have a balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return;
- IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned or
- Your state or federal benefits were reduced or cancelled because the agency received information reporting an income change.
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 as soon as possible.
- Complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
- Report incidents of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov or the FTC Identity Theft hotline at 877-438-4338 or TTY 866-653-4261.
- File a report with the local police.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus:
- If another tax return was filed before yours, attach a signed, original, paper tax return with Form 14039.
- You are still required, by law, to file a tax return even if you are a victim of fraud.
- Note the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via e-mail, and the IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail correspondence.
- Equifax - www.equifax.com, 800-525-6285
- Experian - www.experian.com, 888-397-3742
- TransUnion - www.transunion.com, 800-680-7289
CPAs can help
Every taxpayer's situation is unique and there are many nuances to filing taxes and understanding tax returns. CPAs can help make sense of your taxes and ensure that you are in compliance with the IRS. Use the free "Find a CPA" Directory on the Illinois CPA Society's site, www.icpas.org, to locate a CPA in your area.
About the Illinois CPA Society
The Illinois CPA Society, founded in 1903, is the fifth largest state CPA society in the nation, with more than 23,000 members. It is the premier professional organization that represents CPAs in Illinois. For more than a century the Society has advanced the highest ethical and financial standards of the profession and remains a leader in educating the public on financial issues.