Tax-related identify theft continues to be a growing problem, with the IRS paying out an estimated $5.8 billion as a result of fraudulent returns in a recent year. As a result, many taxpayers found when trying to file their tax returns, a refund had already been issued and claimed by someone who stole their ID and filed a bogus tax return.
If you’ve been a victim of tax-related identity theft, untangling the mess can be a challenge. The Las Vegas accounting firm of Fair, Anderson & Langerman recommends taking the following steps to help correct the situation as soon as you realize there’s a problem:
Get help from the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a website dedicated to helping victims of identity theft. File a report on identitytheft.gov by providing some specifics about your situation. The site will then develop a personalized action plan based on your answers.
File a report with law enforcement
File a police report with your local law enforcement agency. The agency may be able to investigate, and you’ll also receive a police report with a corresponding number that you’ll need to have as you contact various agencies.
Notify credit agencies
Identity theft can hurt your credit history and rating, so it’s important to place an extended fraud alert with one of the three major credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You’ll only need to alert one company, since they’re required to then alert the other two. You can also place a freeze on your account to make it harder for thieves to open new accounts in your name.
Obtain a copy of your credit reports
Check your credit reports from all three agencies to make sure no additional accounts have been opened in your name. You can get the reports for free at annualcreditreport.com, the site recommended by the FTC.
Notify the IRS
You may have already received a letter from the IRS alerting you of the tax-related ID theft. If so, the letter may provide contact information. You can also complete an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit and mail or fax the form along with the required documentation, or call the IRS ID Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.
The next step
If you aren’t getting enough help from the IRS, try calling the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 877-777-4778. You can also check for the location of a nearby office in your area.
Get a copy of the fake return
If you want to obtain a copy of the fake return filed in your name, you can request a copy (with certain information blacked out) from the IRS.
If you need a Las Vegas accounting firm to provide tax-consulting services for your personal or business finances, contact Fair, Anderson & Langerman at 702-870-7999. Our Las Vegas accounting firm provides a full array of services while emphasizing a personalized approach.