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Someone Filed a Fraudulent Tax Return in My Name. Now What? 

Tax season can already be stressful without the added burden of discovering that someone has filed a fraudulent tax return using your identity. Unfortunately, tax-related identity theft is a real concern in today’s digital world. If you suspect or discover that someone has filed a fraudulent tax return in your name, take immediate action. Here are the steps you should take to protect yourself and mitigate any potential damage. 

Contact the Authorities 

When you suspect tax-related identity theft, your first point of contact should be the IRS. The Identity Protection Specialized Unit is equipped to handle cases of identity theft. Further, they can guide you through the necessary steps to resolve the issue. They may ask you to provide information and documentation to support your claim. Hence, be prepared to provide details about the fraudulent activity. You can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245.  

File an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit 

IRS Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit, is a crucial document for victims of tax-related identity theft. By submitting this form to the IRS, you officially notify them of the identity theft and provide details about the fraudulent activity. Include any supporting documentation, such as a copy of the fraudulent tax return or notices from the IRS. 

File a Police Report 

Filing a police report creates an official record of the identity theft. This can be crucial when dealing with financial institutions and government agencies. Provide as much information as possible to the police, including any documentation or evidence you have regarding the fraudulent tax return. 

Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports 

If your identity was stolen to submit a phony tax return, don’t assume the scammer will stop there. Contact one of the major credit bureaus, like Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, and request a fraud alert be placed on your credit reports. This alert notifies creditors to take extra precautions when processing credit applications in your name. The fraud alert is free and lasts for one year, but you can extend it if necessary. 

Monitor Your Financial Accounts 

Regularly monitor all your financial accounts for any unauthorized activity. This includes bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts. Look for unfamiliar transactions, withdrawals, or changes to your account information. Reporting suspicious activity promptly can help minimize the damage caused by identity theft. In addition, placing a temporary freeze on your accounts can help mitigate risk while you sort this issue out. 

Report the Fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

The FTC serves as a central hub for reporting identity theft and provides resources to help victims navigate the recovery process. By filing a report with the FTC, you contribute to the agency’s efforts to track and combat identity theft on a larger scale. You can file a report online at or by calling the FTC Identity Theft hotline at 877-438-4338 or TTY 866-653-4261. 

Continue Filing Your Taxes 

Despite the fraudulent return filed in your name, you are still required to file your tax return. Use Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit, to attach a paper return and explain the situation to the IRS. Include any additional documentation or information requested by the IRS to support your claim. 

Request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) 

An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number issued by the IRS to eligible taxpayers to prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns. You can request an IP PIN online through the IRS website or by submitting Form 14039. Once enrolled, you must include the IP PIN on your tax return each year. This added layer of protection can help prevent fraudulent tax returns in your name in the future. 

Stay Vigilant 

Identity theft can have long-term consequences, so it’s essential to remain vigilant even after taking initial steps to resolve the issue. Regularly review your credit reports, monitor your financial accounts, and report any suspicious activity immediately. Consider subscribing to credit monitoring services for added protection. Many banks offer this service for free. Check with yours to see what they can do to help. 

Tax Help for Victims of Tax Fraud 

If you’re overwhelmed or uncertain about how to proceed, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a tax professional or identity theft specialist. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and help you navigate the complex process of resolving identity theft issues. Professional assistance can streamline the recovery process and increase the likelihood of a successful resolution. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over $3 billion in resolved tax liabilities. 

If You Need Tax Help, Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation