The closer we are marching towards achieving absolute digitalization, the increasingly exposed we are being to the prying eyes of the present-day swindlers who are always peeping through their screens to discover the slightest of opportunities to attain their act of embezzlement. The reams of information, both personal and professional, being uploaded to the web resides on thousands of servers worldwide and are being tried to be accessed by some fraudster or the other.
Accountants and tax professionals are the most popular targets of these internet fraudsters. Attempting to steal a tax professional’s identity, the modern cybercriminals aim to get their hands on the critical information of their clients and set out to create fraudulent returns and claim fake reimbursements. Identity theft is vital trouble for both individuals as well as tax professionals and accountants. They result in financial losses worth billions of dollars every year.
Identity theft, comparatively easier to accomplish and monetize, rules the realm of cybercrime. Credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other confidential identities are easily stolen and are either traded on the dark web or misused by criminals to earn easy profits.
Identity theft can easily strike anyone, irrespective of race, age, sex, or economic background of the victim. The United States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) puts forth an Identity Theft Victim Assistance program to help victims of identity theft.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) acknowledges the fact that identity thefts are both confusing and frustrating for victims and hence, commits to resolve identity theft cases as fast as possible. Identity Theft Victim Assistance (IDTVA) is an outcome of the same commitment that aims to help identity theft victims by shortening the time duration to resolve these issues, no matter how complex.
The IRS’s form 14039, an ID Theft Affidavit, should be submitted in response to an unauthorized attempt at stealing your identity or personal information.
There are primarily two ways in which the Identity Theft Victim Assistance works. Either a victim can notify the IRS about a suspicious activity leading to tax-related ID theft, or the IRS, on identifying a suspicious return with a taxpayer’s name, tell him/her about the activity. However, the IRS can only recognize an identity theft victim once they begin processing tax returns or launch an audit.
The following are the general outlines of what you, as an identity victim, can expect in both cases:
You can report an incident of tax-related identity theft to the Internal Revenue Service as soon as you learn about it. If you e-file a tax return and it gets rejected saying the return has been already filed using your Social Security Number (SSN), then it is an obvious sign that you have been impersonated by some fraudster. In that case, you must immediately report the matter to the IRS.
Here’s what you should do to notify the IRS of the same:
After you have sent the documents to the IRS, you will receive an acknowledgment letter from the IRS, confirming the receipt of your Identity Theft Affidavit (form 14039). The IRS will then assign your case to their Identity Theft Victim Assistance (IDTVA) organization where the incident would be thoroughly researched and resolved by an identity theft specialist.
The following are the steps that the IDTVA incorporates in order to find a resolution to your identity theft case assigned to them:
Once your case has been resolved, the IRS will notify you of the same. The IRS’s IDTVA typically takes less than 120 days to resolve an identity theft incident, but incidents having more complexity may take up to 180 days or more.
Further, the Identity Theft Victim Assistance organization has an Identity Protection (IP) PIN Program in which it picks particular tax-related ID theft victims and assigns a fresh, six-digit IP PIN to help put a stop to the misuse of their SSNs on fraudulent tax returns.
The Taxpayer Protection Program of the IRS regularly monitors your tax returns to identify a dubious tax return with your name and Social Security Number. In case it discovers a suspicious return, it notifies you. The program proactively recognizes and stops the processing of ID theft tax returns to aid taxpayers whose IDs are used while filing those fraudulent returns. The IRS takes many precautionary steps as there can be numerous reasons behind a return appearing dubious to them.
The following is what you can expect in this entire scenario:
The time of resolution of these identity theft incidents depends upon their complexity as well as the volume of work. Once the IRS resolves tax issues related to your account, it marks it with an identity theft indicator to make sure it remains protected in the future. Here too, the IRS recognizes certain ID theft victims to place them into the IP PIN program to ensure their SSNs are not misused for filing fraudulent tax returns.
In order to determine if you are required to follow other steps in addition to those discussed above, you may:
Additionally, you should:
The IRS’s Identity Theft Victim Assistance organization plays an important role in recognizing and preventing identity thefts. It not only makes sure your sensitive information is protected but also assists you in nullifying the effects of identity theft, in case you become a victim of one.
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Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by admin