Tax season is the time of the year that most people dread. The stress accumulates with endless number crunching, sorting through old receipts, and the dreaded April 15th deadline. It isn’t enough that we all stress to get our taxes complete and on time, but we also have to remember that there are some who see this as the perfect time to steal your identity.
What exactly is tax identity theft? An identity thief may use your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. They could also pose as the IRS on the phone to get financial information from you to gain access to your bank accounts, and secure PIN numbers. Promoting awareness is the goal for preventing tax identity theft, but first you need to know how to determine if you have become a victim.
The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS can alert you that someone else is using your SSN. Do not reply or click on any link if you get an email that claims to be from the IRS. Instead, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund, IRS records will show the first filing. You’ll get a notice or letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed for you.
If someone uses your SSN to get a job, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your SSN. When you file your tax return, you won’t include those earnings. IRS records will show you failed to report all your income. The agency will send you a notice or letter saying you got wages but didn’t report them. The IRS doesn’t know those wages were reported by an employer you don’t know.
Contact the IRS immediately you think someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job. The IRS will sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem. Specialists will work with you and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future.
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