Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 2013, A/N Group, Inc.
Stopping identity theft and refund fraud is a top priority for the IRS. The agency's work on identity theft and refund fraud continues to grow, touching nearly every part of the organization. For the 2013 filing season, the IRS has expanded these efforts to better protect taxpayers and help victims.
By late 2012, the IRS assigned more than 3,000 IRS employees--over double from 2011--to work on identity theft-related issues. IRS employees are working to prevent refund fraud, investigate identity theft-related crimes and help taxpayers who have been victimized by identity thieves. In addition, the IRS has trained 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers to recognize identity theft indicators and help people victimized by identity theft.
Refund Fraud Detection and Prevention
The IRS has expanded its efforts on refund fraud detection and prevention for the 2013 tax season in several ways:
Increasing Efforts to Help Victims
The IRS understands that identity theft is a frustrating, complex process for victims. While identity thieves steal information from sources outside the tax system, the IRS is often the first to inform a victim that identity theft has occurred.
While the IRS has made considerable progress in this area, more works remains. Identity theft cases are among the most complex handled by the IRS. The IRS is continually reviewing processes and policies to minimize the incidence of identity theft and to help those who find themselves victimized. Among the steps underway to help victims:
IRS Criminal Investigation
The IRS's Criminal Investigation division is a major component of the IRS's effort to combat tax-related identity theft. It will continue to utilize the full capabilities and resources to investigate those who steal from taxpayers through identity theft.
In Fiscal Year 2012, the IRS tripled its number of criminal investigations compared to 2011 by initiating nearly 900 investigations regarding identity theft, which resulted in almost 500 indictments.
Beyond the criminal actions, IRS enforcement personnel in January 2012 simultaneously conducted a sweep of approximately 150 money services businesses to help make sure these businesses are not knowingly or unknowingly facilitating identity theft or refund fraud. The visits occurred in nine high-risk locations across the country.
Nontax Tips to Avoid Identity Fraud From the IRS
Here are some tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name:
Tips to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft
If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 (Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time; Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
If you believe you're a victim of identity theft
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the IRS or learn from your tax professional that:
If you receive a notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.
If you did not receive a notice but believe you've been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 right away so it can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN. Also, fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
In addition, the IRS recommends you take additional steps with agencies outside the IRS:
For the full text of the IRS Fact Sheets discussed above go to Fact Sheet 2013-02 and Fact Sheet 2013-03
The IRS has two additional web pages that provide a wealth of information, both tax related and nontax.
Copyright 2013 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Articles in this publication are not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on a taxpayer. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject. Copyright is not claimed on material from U.S. Government sources.--ISSN 1089-1536
--Last Update 01/28/13