It's tax season, and if you've been a victim of Tax Related Identity Theft, there are specific steps you must take to file your tax returns.
Tax Related ID Theft occurs when someone uses your social security number to create a fake W-2 and attempts to file a fraudulent tax return using your identification. An ID thief obtains a social security number through many of the traditional means to steal personal information including a data breach, phishing scam, Internet hacking or others.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Identity Theft & Fraud Unit offers these steps if you've been a victim of this crime.
1) File a police report with your local law enforcement agency. Ask for a copy of the report or for the police case number.
2) File IRS Form 14039 and submit it to the IRS along with a paper copy of your tax return. The form includes instructions about how to complete the document, what you need to include with the form and where to mail it. When completing IRS Form 14039, make sure you indicate you are a victim of ID theft and that you reported the crime to law enforcement. List the law enforcement agency where you filed your report and include the police case number. Note: You will be required to send proof of your identification when you submit your taxes. Most government-issued forms of ID will be accepted (driver's license, etc.). The instructions on the form will include the list in its entirety. If you have a copy of the police report, you may attach it with the form.
3) Make copies of everything you send the IRS and document when you sent the information. If sending by mail, it's recommend sending by certified mail and requesting a return receipt that will inform you when the information was received.
4) You can also call the IRS Identity Theft Hotline at 1-800-908-4490. Please be aware that you will still need to submit IRS Form 14039, even if you call this number. Calling this number is not a requirement; it's only an option.
5) Always record/document any calls or correspondences with the IRS and keep the information in a secure location.
6) If your State of Colorado tax returns are also impacted by ID theft, you will need to notify the Colorado Department of Revenue. You may do this by mailing a letter explaining what has happened, copies of the IRS Form 14039 and the supporting ID documents along with your State of Colorado Tax Return to:
Colorado Department of Revenue Criminal Investigation Section
PO Box 8825
Denver CO 80201
"The best advice we offer is to not wait to prepare and submit your taxes, especially if you were impacted by Tax ID Theft in the past," said CBI Agent in Charge Ralph Gagliardi. "Filing your taxes sooner rather than later lessens the chance someone (other than you) can file a tax return in your name."
The CBI has seen a surge in calls related to Tax ID Theft as people begin to prepare their 2015 tax returns. The CBI ID Theft & Fraud Unit offers a number of ways to contact CBI agents and the Bureau's victim advocate with questions or assistance:
24 Hour Identity Theft & Fraud Hotline
1-855-443-3489 (toll free)
CBI Victim Assistance Program