Though many people have already filed their taxes at this point, plenty also wait until the last minute. After all, there’s nothing like knowing a big tax refund is coming and hoarding the feeling.
However, there is one significant disadvantage that can stem from waiting to file a tax return. The longer one waits to file, the higher the chance their refund could be stolen.
If you’ve encountered the unfortunate experience of having your tax return stolen, here’s what you should do:
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Calm Down and Take a Few Deep Breaths
It might seem obvious, but the moment most people find out that their tax return has been stolen, a frenzied panic ensues. And rightfully so, having your tax return taken means somebody has your social security number. It also means they’ve been monitoring you for a while. These things are understandably unsettling.
However, like anything in life, this too will pass. After all, tens of thousands of tax returns are stolen each year, and countless more attempted. Thus, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone in this problem. You have solutions available to you. This same thinking has helped countless people out of tough situations. If you need more convincing on how to deal with a stressful situation, take a look at Freedom Debt Relief reviews, which illustrate how different debtors have dealt with the debt-settlement process.
Fill IRS Form 14039
As mentioned above, stolen tax returns are relatively common. So common, in fact, that the IRS has a form dedicated to it, Form 14039, (a.k.a. the identity theft affidavit). As soon as you learn that your tax return has been stolen, you should fill this form as quickly as possible. It’s also a good idea to call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490, or the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1954.
Send Form 14039
Once you’ve completed Form 14039, mail it to the IRS along with a copy of your social security card and government-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license, passport or military ID.
Send Form 14039 to the IRS’ address:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810-0939
Verify Identity with IRS
Some victims of tax return fraud learn of it because the IRS sends them a 5071C letter saying they’ve received a return they suspect isn’t from you. The letter will also ask you to verify your identity, either through a phone number or the IRS’s Identity Verification Service, which will ask you a series of multiple-choice questions to verify whether the initial tax return was filed by you or not. If you're unable to verify this way, you can call the IRS. Be prepared to give personal information, including your social security number. You’ll also need the previous year’s tax return and any applicable documents.
Having your tax return stolen is a horrible thing. Aside from potentially missing out on your tax refund, identity theft means someone has the means to commit other crimes in your name as well.
Since we only get one social security number, and that number holds the keys to a lot of possibilities, having yours breached is a big deal. If this happens, be sure to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, contact each of the three credit bureaus and alert each of your financial institutions.
Unfortunately, you can’t change your social security number. But you can file your tax return as early as possible to beat scammers to the punch.