do you do if fraudsters already filed a tax return using
a question that’s popping up now in the middle of tax
season. The con artists typically steal ID and then file
fake returns in January. Then, when the legitimate
taxpayer tries to electronically file a return, it’s a
no-go. The real filer’s return is rejected as a
"duplicate" because a refund has been issued
and the filer’s Social Security number was already
used to file a 2014 return.
red flags to tax-related ID fraud can be shocking. One
Detroit-area resident reported to police in early March
that he received a tax refund check in the amount of
$9,832. Not so small problem? The man had not yet filed
his federal tax return. (The fraudsters in this case
likely were goofballs who were in too much of a rush,
tax experts said, because the right boxes need to be
checked so the refund is directly deposited in an
account the con artist controls, such as a prepaid
W. Smith, a certified public accountant, had clients who
received letters from the Internal Revenue Service’s
Integrity & Verification Operations department about
a review relating to the use of the Earned Income Tax
Credit or business income. But the real taxpayers had
not even filed returns at the time they received the
it takes is one compromised Social Security number for a
married couple or family.
Okkerse, a certified public accountant, said last year a
couple, both professionals, ran up against someone using
one of their Social Security numbers to file a
found out because the return was bounced from e-filing,
stating that the spouse’s Social Security number was
used as the taxpayer on another return."
fraud relating to ID theft is on the IRS dirty dozen
list for scams. The IRS said it is increasing its use of
models to detect ID theft fraud and stop scam artists
from receiving refund money. The con artists don’t get
your exact tax refund. Instead, they create a return
that generates a fairly generous refund by using
specialized tax credits.
the FTC has identified tax-related identity theft as a
top source of identity theft complaints.
42 percent of the ID theft complaints were filed by
victims ages 39 and younger.
Detroit area ranked No. 10 in the largest metro
communities with ID theft complaints. The Miami area was
that a con artist used your ID to file a fake return is
unsettling. Many people have no idea what to do, and I’ve
received several calls this tax season. Here are some of
One: The Internal Revenue Service will require that you
submit IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if
scammers filed a fake return using your ID.
14039 is designed so you can prove you’re the real
if your return is rejected as a duplicate when you
e-file this season, Form 14039 needs to be filed. You’d
check Box 1 in Section A if you’re a victim of ID
theft and that the theft is affecting your federal tax
form can also be used if the Social Security number of a
deceased spouse or other deceased relative was used to
file a fraudulent return.
another twist: Form 14039 can be filed if your ID was
compromised but not used yet to file a fake return. You’d
have to see Box 2 on the form in such cases, such as if
there’s evidence of misuse of your personal
information to obtain credit. Or if you’ve had a home
robbery or a purse stolen and your Social Security card
Two: You’d still need to file your 2014 tax return if
a fraudster already filed one using your ID. But you
must do so by paper, not e-filing.
you are unable to file your return electronically now
because the primary and/or secondary Social Security
number was misused, you’d attach Form 14039 and
documentation to your paper return and submit it to the
IRS location where you normally file.
Three: Recognize that it’s going to take some time to
get your refund if a crook filed a fake return with your
need to take various steps, including filing a police
report, and be patient with the aftermath of tax-related
also need to file a complaint at the Federal Trade
Commission at www.ftc.gov if you’re a victim of
tax-related ID theft.
Ciaramitaro, vice president of H&R Block tax
services, said many times it can take 120 to 180 days
before legitimate taxpayers receives their refunds after
ID tax fraud has taken place. Some clients, he said,
have had to wait up to a year.
taxpayer goes through a case management program,
provides documentation and proves that he or she is the
IRS has to know the person that they’re dealing with
is real," Ciaramitaro said.