Please note that the following is meant for informational purposes only and does not qualify as legal or professional advice. If you are seeking professional advice, please speak to one of our CPAs.
Few things in life can create as much anxiety and stress as falling prey to identity theft. Such scenarios, while devastating, can and do happen because of website hacks, data theft, and more. The silver lining in such scenarios is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself, both in general and from a tax-related perspective.
Your First Step After Identity Theft Happens
Typically, you will get a notice from the IRS or your banking institution if they believe you have been the victim of identity theft. Regardless of whether they inform you or you suspect it, you should file a report immediately with your local police precinct and with the Federal Trade Commission through the website www.identitytheft.gov. Next, you will want to contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your card. They are:
- Equifax (equifax.com ; 1-800-525-6285)
- Experian (experian.com ; 1-888-397-3742)
- TransUnion (transunion.com ; 1-800-680-7289)
How Identity Theft Relates to Your Taxes
Once you have contacted the police, the FTC, and one of the credit bureaus, your attention should then turn to the IRS.
If you receive an IRS notice, you should call the number provided to alert them of your status. You should also complete IRS Form 14039: Identity Theft Affidavit affirming that you are a victim of identity theft. From here, you should continue to pay your taxes and file your returns; typically, the IRS will accept your most recent return if someone tried to file impersonating you before. If, however, you contact the IRS and do not get resolution, you can contact their Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. Please be advised that the IRS may request you file by paper going forward if you are the victim of identity theft.
If you still have concerns about what to do in such a situation, you can speak to one of McAuley & Crandall’s experienced CPAs for further information at 913-239-9130.