FAQ…I received a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious return

Tax-related identity theft spikes during the filing season. Many taxpayers discover for the first time that they are victims of identity theft when they receive a letter from the IRS.

A taxpayer may receive a letter when the IRS stops suspicious tax returns that have indications of being identity theft but contains a real taxpayer’s name and/or Social Security number. Once the identity is verified, the taxpayers can confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. If they did not file the return, the IRS can take steps at that time to assist them.

One communication that the IRS uses is Letter 5071C. This letter is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to the address on the return. It asks the taxpayer to verify his or her identity in order for the IRS to complete processing of the return if the taxpayer did file it or reject the return if the taxpayer did not file it. The IRS will explain how taxpayers can contact the agency. The IRS has recommended that taxpayers should have available a copy of the letter they received, their prior year’s return (if one was filed) and the current year’s return (if one was filed), including supporting documents for each return. This would encompass Forms W-2’s, 1099’s, Schedule C, Schedule F, and other supporting documents.

Note. The IRS never asks a taxpayer to verify his or identity by email. If a taxpayer receives such an email, it is a scam, sent by criminals trying to trick the taxpayer into revealing personal and financial information.

Another communication that the IRS uses is Letter 4883C. This letter also is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service and asks taxpayers to verify their identities. The IRS will explain what steps to take.

If you have received a letter from the IRS related to possible identity theft, please contact our office. We can help you navigate the IRS and respond to the agency’s questions.

Written by

Steve Moss, CPA is a partner at Holden Moss CPAs and loves helping businesses and their owners grow to be the very best they can be. Our other offices include Raleigh, Oxford and Warrenton. We are a little different at Holden Moss CPAs. While we still provide traditional tax and accounting services, years ago we realized many clients wanted help in running their businesses and were hungry for ideas, solutions, strategy, and execution. In response, we expanded our skill set and joined Ran One, a global network of business consulting firms. Our membership with Ran One gives us access to proprietary resources and analytical software to help our clients grow, become more profitable and valuable, and have the lifestyle they desire. Now, blended into the fabric of our normal tax and accounting needs, we are focused on our clients’ businesses in a very different way. While our approach is not right for everyone, for those whom it is, incredible results may be obtained. Whether you have a new, or established, business, or for those in transition of selling or retiring, or for those who simply need to develop an exit strategy or succession plan, our unique approach to client service may be the edge you need.

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