and Tax Returns:
fraud caused by identity theft is one of the fastest
growing crimes nationwide (click
here for an update we did in 2012 on Refund Fraud on this
very topic & go to 6:30 mark on the video to listen to
Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top
priority for the IRS. With more than 3,000 employees working
on identity theft cases, the IRS is focused on preventing,
detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as
possible and has trained more than 35,000 employees to work
with taxpayers to recognize and provide assistance when
identity theft occurs.
Taxpayers might encounter identity theft involving their tax
returns in several ways. One possible scenario is where
identity thieves try filing fraudulent refund claims using
another person's identifying information, which has been
Here are some tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and
steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return
using your name:
Tips to protect you from becoming a
victim of identity theft
- Don't carry your Social Security card or any documents that
include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual
Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Don't give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask.
Give it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and
anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and
changing passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don't give personal information over the phone,
through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated
the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
If your tax records are not currently affected by identity
theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost or
stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or
credit report, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized
Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 (Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. -
7 p.m. local time; Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific time).
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice
from the IRS, if you believe you're a victim of identity
theft, or if you 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 receive a notice from the IRS and suspect your identity
has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the
number on the notice. Please call us if you're not sure what
to do or would like assistance with this.
If you did not receive an IRS notice but believe you've been
the victim of identity theft, contact us or contact the IRS
Identity Protection Specialized Unit directly at 800-908-4490,
Also, you will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft
Affidavit, Form 14039. Please write legibly and follow the
directions on the back of the form that relate to your
specific circumstances. If you need help filling out this
form, don't hesitate to give us a call.
We also recommend that you take
additional steps with agencies outside the IRS such
- Reporting 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.
- Filing a report with the local police.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened
- Contacting the fraud departments of the three major credit
> Equifax - www.equifax.com, 800-525-6285
> Experian - www.experian.com, 888-397-3742
> TransUnion - www.transunion.com, 800-680-7289
If you have reported an identity theft case to the IRS and are
waiting for your federal tax refund, be assured that the IRS
is working to speed up and further streamline identity theft
case resolution to help innocent taxpayers.
In many instances, these are extremely complex cases to
resolve, frequently touching on multiple issues and multiple
tax years and cases of resolving identity can be complicated
by the thieves themselves contacting the IRS.
Due to the complexity of the situation, this is a
time-consuming process. Taxpayers are likely to see their
refunds delayed for an extended period of time while we take
the necessary actions to resolve the matter. A typical case
can take about 180 days to resolve, and the IRS is working to
reduce that time period.
Also, please note that even if
you have an open identity theft case that is being worked by
the IRS, you need to continue to file your tax returns
during this period.
For victims of identity theft who have previously been in
contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution to
their case, you may contact the IRS Identity Protection
Specialized Unit, toll-free, at 800-908-4490. If you are
unable to get your issue resolved and are experiencing
financial difficulties, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service
toll-free at 877-777-4778.
Identity theft is an issue that we, as tax professionals, take
very seriously. If you have any questions or concerns, please
do not think twice about calling us. We are here to help you.
Financial Services at Sullivan & Company, CPAs
Grow leads our Financial Services Division and is here to
help you navigate your financial future. As an Investment
Advisor Representative, she is able to provide an
independent opinion on the investments you already own or
are considering buying.
We can structure a portfolio
based on your risk tolerance or we can help you decide how
to invest in your company 401(k) plan. We work with each
client to identify their concerns and to provide solutions
according to their situation.
is also experienced in company retirement plans. If you own
a business that does not have a plan; we can discuss your
options and set up a plan that fits your company.
If your business already has a
plan; we offer a free evaluation of the plan to ensure that
it is up to date and working well for you and your
Our goal is to provide personal, unbiased and independent
advice to help you make well-informed decisions about your
financial life and investments.
Contact Kathy Grow or Jordana Para to set up a free initial
consultation (301) 657-8080.
And as always if you have any questions about accounting or
investments and how they effect you or your business, please give
us a call at
(240) 316-3564. We
can help guide you in the right direction.
Remember you can call our offices if you have any
questions about these or any other accounting, tax,
financial planning or insurance related issues, at
Regards, Paul Sullivan, CPA
President, Sullivan & Company