Someone commits tax-related identity theft when they utilize a stolen SSN to submit a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. In the vast majority of tax-related identity theft cases, the IRS finds and investigates a suspicious tax return. The IRS then sends the taxpayer a letter, and the tax return is not processed until the person responds.

The taxpayer will get one of three letters asking for identity verification, depending on the circumstances:

Letter 5071C, Possibility of Identity Theft During Initial Processing Using Online Option. This letter requires that the taxpayer use an online tool to verify their identity and indicate whether or not this tax return was filed.

Letter 4883C, Identity Theft Risk During Initial Processing This letter requires that the taxpayer contact the IRS by phone to verify their identity and identify whether or not this tax return was filed.

Letter 5747C, Possibility of Identity Theft during Original Processing – TAC Authorization Only This letter is issued by the IRS to a taxpayer whose data has been compromised. This letter may ask the taxpayer to provide identification in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center.

If the IRS sends a letter to a taxpayer reporting identity theft, the person must follow the letter’s instructions. This will provide the IRS with all required information. There is no need for the taxpayer to submit Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

When to Submit a Declaration of Identity Theft

If a taxpayer has not been contacted by the IRS but suspects tax-related identity theft, they must complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and submit it. Indicators of suspected identity theft connected to taxes include:

• E-filing is prevented by a duplicate tax return using the taxpayer’s Social Security number. (Ensure the SSN is free of problems, such as transposed digits.)

• A taxpayer cannot e-file because a dependent’s Social Security number or ITIN has been utilized on another return without his or her knowledge or consent. (Also verify that the SSN or ITIN is legitimate and that the dependent has not filed a separate tax return.)

• An unrequested tax transcript is sent to a taxpayer.

• A taxpayer gets proof from a tax preparation software provider that an online account was established in their name despite their lack of participation.

• The tax preparation software vendor notifies the taxpayer that their existing online account was accessed or deactivated without their action.

• A taxpayer gets a notice from the IRS informing them that they owe more tax, that their refund was put to a debt owing, or that collection actions have been initiated against them for a year in which they did not earn income or file a tax return.

• The IRS informs the taxpayer that he or she received wages or other income from an employer for whom he or she did not work.

• An Employer Identification Number (EIN) was assigned to the taxpayer without the taxpayer seeking or applying for one.

The IRS will attempt to identify the legitimate taxpayer, delete the false return from the taxpayer’s account, and often set a unique identifier on the account that will generate an IP PIN each year for the victim.

Non-Tax-Related Identity Theft; No Need to File Form 14039

Someone commits non-tax-related identity theft when they utilize stolen or misplaced personally identifiable information (PII) to open unauthorized credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and other accounts.

Examples of potential evidence of identity theft unrelated to taxes:

• A person gets balance due bills from companies with which they have never done business, magazine subscriptions they did not purchase, mortgage statement notifications, and/or credit cards for which they have never applied.

• An individual gets notifications for unemployment benefits for which they have not applied.

• A person gets an Employment Identity Theft Notice CP 01E.

• An person receives a Form W-2 or 1099 from a company or employer from whom they did not receive the stated income, and they have not received a notice or letter from the IRS requesting information regarding this income.

• A taxpayer cannot e-file because a dependent’s SSN or ITIN was previously used by a person known to the taxpayer but not the dependent’s father or legal guardian, and the taxpayer did not authorize that person to claim the dependent. Contact the office for more help with this situation.

The IRS does not compel victims of identity theft unrelated to taxes to disclose these incidents, but they should take safeguards against this kind of identity theft.

A Helping Hand Is Just a Phone Call Away

If you have any questions or concerns about tax-related identity theft or if you need help with any tax-related situation, please contact the office.


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Tetyana Ser-Manukyan | Glendale Location Manager

Tetyana is a 2nd generation accountant and the Founder of Integrity Accounting Solutions, Inc. She is a meticulously organized and detail-oriented professional with over 23 years of experience in accounting industry.

Long Beach

Marilyn Motsenbocker | Long Beach Location Manager

With more than 35 years of experience in accounting and finance, her managerial expertise and knowledge add value to our firm and complement the well-being of our customers.

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