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IRS: My identity was stolen for a tax refund, what happens next?

Every year millions of Americans file with the IRS as fast as they can in hopes of a quick refund, but some people file only to find out their SSN was already submitted.

tax forms used to submit a tax return to the IRS

This means someone filed taxes with your SSN in hopes of getting the refund you were entitled to.

You’re now a victim of tax identity theft. This is also known as stolen identity refund fraud.

The next step is to file your taxes and attach Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

What happens next?

The IRS will now work to fix your stolen refund and issue you your refund, while also protecting you from future tax identity theft.

Depending on your situation it can take anywhere from three months to one year.

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IRS: Form 1040 explained

Here are the 5 major steps to the process for identity tax fraud with the IRS

You’ll receive a notice from the IRS

The IRS will notify you that they are aware of the identity theft that happened.

Within 30 days of receiving Form 14039, you’ll get that letter.

You may need to prove your identity with letter 5071C.

This will require you to answer questions about your previous tax return.

The IRS will give your case its attention

There are specific employees dedicated to the handling of identity theft cases.

The team will work to correct your current return, issue your refund, eliminate fraudulently filed returns, and add an identity theft indicator to your account.

Millions see average tax refund of $3,536 today

Your account will be flagged for the future

By flagging your account with the identity theft indicator, it lets the IRS know to be aware that this has happened.

This can help to deter future fraud.

Your account will be flagged indefinitely.

Your case will eventually be resolved and closed by the IRS

Any previous tax returns will be reviewed to see if there were any tax fraud issues on them and once resolved, your case will be closed.

You’ll receive a letter informing you the issues are cleared.

How long it takes to resolve depends on how big the issue is.

The IRS says they usually resolve these issues between 120 and 180 days, but if it’s complex it can take over a year.

You may check in with the IRS periodically to see that your case is being worked on.

Most commonly used tax forms explained

In the future you may be required to use a special number on all of your returns

Moving forward you will probably need an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number.

This is a 6 digit number you’ll get every Dec. in the mail and you will need to add it to your tax return.

You may not opt out of this.

In addition to this process, you need to file a complaint with the FTC.

You also need to place a fraud alert on your credit records and call your banks to verify accounts and purchases.

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