Tax Day, Wednesday, April 15th is rapidly approaching so a few weeks past I gathered all my financial information and visited our accountant. He is a very reputable CPA whom has prepared our tax returns since we were first married many, many years ago. Then last week when he tried to electronically file our tax returns the filings were rejected by both the Federal and State governments. It made me physically sick when I received his phone call informing me that our IRS identity had indeed been stolen. The perpetrator stole both of our social security numbers and filed separate Federal and State tax returns in each of our names. I can't even begin to tell you how angry I am with this scene! My husband and I have worked our entire lives, sometimes two and three jobs at the same time to make ends meet and provide for our family. We have always lived up to our responsibilities and paid our bills in a timely manner. As a result we each individually have excellent credit ratings. So I didn't take it kindly when I learned we had been victims of tax related identity theft!
The IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft offers a wealth of information on the steps to take if you have become a victim. We first met with our financial advisor and were given a list of steps to take to hopefully resolve our tax situation while also protecting our credit scores. We both had to first prepare affidavits stating who we were and that we had been victims of identity theft. If you prepare your taxes on your own you will need to stop by your local IRS office and enlist the aid of an agent to help you prepare the affidavit. You must attach to the affidavit a copy of a legal form of identity such as a valid driver's license or passport. We chose to use our licenses and were told it must be an enlarged copy. So we were off to the nearby FedEx store for copies of our individual licenses. And yes, it also cost us to obtain these enlarged documents. If you are a victim of tax identity theft you must file paper copies of your returns and the affidavits must also be attached to the returns.
|Courtesy of IRS.gov|
Next we were advised to bring copies of the affidavits to our local police department and file individual police reports. Check, we did that and were given our police report numbers. Make sure you get these numbers because you will need them for the next step.
Now it is time to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can go online and complete the paperwork at www.identitytheft.gov or call the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 to report your details. I chose to call the hotline and after waiting for several minutes I was finally connected to an agent and successfully completed reports for both my husband and myself. When making this report you will be asked for the name and phone number of the police department where your identity theft report was filed and you must also provide the FTC with the police report numbers.
Next you need to contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place a "fraud alert" on your credit records. You only need to report your identity theft to one of the agencies as that bureau will contact the other agencies for you. The credit bureau agencies and contact information are as follows:
Equifax: www.Equifax.com 1-800-525-6285
Experian: www.Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: www.TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289
Now I wait with apprehension to see what happens next. I mailed the paper copies of my Federal and State tax returns today. Oh, and please let me know if you have been a victim too and what steps you took to correct the situation.