National Taxpayer Advocate: Help Is Available for Victims of Identity Theft

When identity thieves target taxpayers to obtain improper tax refunds, it causes serious consequences for the victim and for the IRS. The IRS is taking steps to make it more difficult for perpetrators to successfully file falsified returns using others’ personal information (prevention) and to make it more costly if caught doing so (deterrence). But as the voice of the taxpayer, my focus is on IRS’s victim assistance to those who find themselves impacted by identity theft.

If you are a victim of identity theft and believe your federal tax account has been compromised, please click on this link to learn how to report the incident to the IRS: www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Theft. If you are experiencing economic harm or you’re not satisfied with the assistance provided by the IRS, please contact your Local Taxpayer Advocate (click here for a full list of TAS office locations: www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-a-Local-Taxpayer-Advocate).

The IRS has made some improvements to victim assistance in recent years. For example, victims who substantiate their identity and address will be issued an Identity Protection PIN. This unique number must be used in conjunction with the victim’s SSN (or ITIN) in future years; the IRS will delay processing of returns filed without this IP PIN to protect taxpayers from being victimized again.

In the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress, I included identity theft again as one of the most serious problems facing taxpayers. Because identity theft is an invasive crime that can have traumatic emotional impact on its victims, I believe the IRS should model its centralized identity theft unit after its innocent spouse unit that assists taxpayers who may have been victims of domestic abuse. Most importantly, there should be one IRS employee assigned to interact with the victim and maintain control of the taxpayer’s case (including all peripheral issues stemming from the identity theft). You can read my report on identity theft here and my full Annual Report here.

Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, is the voice of the taxpayer before the IRS and Congress.

Tagged with: identity theft, IRS, tax
Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Comments

This is great!

Congrats on tax payer advocate service for their efforts to date. However, taxpayers need law to protect them from the criminal rate of interest they charge leave no money left for the legitimate obligations in their life. They prey on people who are down on their luck and then suck the life out of them. we have close 1000 each month going out for these loans I made when I was clinically depressed. We have outstanding tax obligations which the money could be used for. Thx again for all the help thus far.

My spouse whom I am legally and physically separated from took all of our tax records when she left. She later efiled a joint return without my knowledge or consent using my personal information. She wouldn't even tell me when or if she filed. Is that identity theft?

Leave a Comment

Commenting Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.