If you’re a tax professional, business owner, or in a human resources department, the FTC and IRS can help you help clients, employees, or other people who discover they’re victims of tax-related identity theft.
Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return and claim your refund. You might find out about it when you try to e-file — only to find that someone else already has submitted a return — or when the IRS sends you a letter saying it has identified a suspicious tax return that used your SSN. That’s when you’ll need to file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039), so that the IRS can begin resolving your case.
Until now, you had to complete an Affidavit from the IRS website, print it, then fax or mail it to the IRS. Now, the FTC and IRS have collaborated to let people report tax-related identity theft to the IRS online, using the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website. It’s the only place you can submit your IRS Form 14039 electronically.
What are the benefits? IdentityTheft.gov will:
Walk you through the process of completing the Form 14039
- Transfer your Form 14039 to the IRS securely
- Guide you through placing fraud alerts on your credit files, checking your credit reports, and taking other steps to stop the tax identity theft from harming your accounts, and
- Help you resolve any other problems the tax identity theft may have caused.
Here’s how it works: IdentityTheft.gov will first ask you questions to collect the information the IRS needs, then use your information to populate the Form 14039 and let you review it. Once you’re satisfied, you can submit the Form 14039 to the IRS through IdentityTheft.gov and download a copy for yourself. About 30 days later, the IRS will send you a letter confirming it received the information.
Remember, though — filing the Affidavit doesn’t eliminate the need to pay your taxes. If you couldn’t e-file your tax return, you’ll still need to mail it to the IRS and pay any taxes you owe.
You may share this information with any victims of tax-related identity theft you encounter and remind them to visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the problem and get recovery help.