We are seeing a lot more instances of refunds being put “on-hold” until the government can figure out possible Identity Theft issues. This can become very frustrating for our clients. Not surprising at all is that the IRS identified 1.2 million incidents in 2011, double that reported in 2010. These include thieves filing false tax returns using the taxpayer’s identity to obtain refunds or thieves using the taxpayer’s identity to obtain a job.
As clients, you need to be aware of the a few facts about the IRS:
- The IRS never uses email or social media to contact clients directly
- The IRS provides telephone numbers and other ways for taxpayers to identify possible ID Theft and report it as can be seen at the website irs.gov (also see below)
Our firm uses several procedures to help prevent exposure to ID Theft including:
- Encrypting items that may fall into the wrong hands such as client CD’s with their tax returns
- Access to our client portal (ShareFile) which has significant safety measures in place to prevent hacking when transmitting electronic records
- Redacting social security numbers on client organizers for personal taxes
- Use of anti-virus and security software on our computer system
- Use of nationally recognized paperless system with world class security
- Provide ID Theft service for all of our staff
If you suspect that you have been a victim of ID Theft, we recommend that you call the IRS at (800) 908-4490 and complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. We suggest contacting your banks, credit card companies, credit bureaus and local police. We also suggest that you verify with the Social Security Administration that your earnings records are not affected. With the IRS, plan on it taking several months for them to “sort things out”.
If you have any questions or concerns about this information please feel free to contact our office.