The IRS recently announced that it will allow victims of tax identity theft to receive a redacted copy of a fraudulent return filed and accepted by the IRS using the victim’s name and social security number. It is important to note that the IRS will only provide to victims whose name and social security number are listed as the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return. The IRS will not disclose this information to someone listed as a dependent on the fraudulent return.
While blacking out some information is intended to protect additional possible victims on the return, the intention of providing these returns is to enable victims to determine how their personal information was used.
Currently, these requests are only for personal returns and not for business returns. Copies of fraudulent returns are being made available for those using Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ.
These requests for fraudulent tax returns can be made for the current tax year and previous six tax years. The requests must be made through a signed letter with other additionally required information sent to:
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810-0939
Requests might be returned if any of the required information or documentation is missing.
Required information and documentation for a request by the identity theft victim
For victims whose names and social security number were used to file the fraudulent tax return, the letter needs to include:
- Name and social security number
- Mailing address
- Tax year(s) of the fraudulent return(s) requested
- The statement with signature beneath: “I declare that I am the taxpayer.”
- The letter needs to be accompanied by a copy of government-issued identification (e.g., driver’s license or passport).
If the request is being made by a person who is authorized by the victim of the tax identity theft, the written letter must include:
- The authorized person’s name and tax identification number (usually social security number)
- Relationship to the victim (e.g., parent, legal guardian, or authorized representative)
- Mailing address
- Centralized authorization file (CAF) number if assigned one by the IRS for an authorization that is on file with the IRS covering the requested tax year(s)
- Tax year(s) of the fraudulent return(s) being requested
- The taxpayer’s name and social security number
- The taxpayer’s mailing address
- The following statement with your signature beneath: “I declare that I am a person authorized to obtain the tax information requested.”
The letter needs to be accompanied by a copy of a government-issued identification (e.g., a driver’s license or passport). Additionally, documents demonstrating your authority to receive the requested tax return information (e.g., Form 2848, Form 8821, or a court order) need to be included, unless:
- You are requesting return information of your minor child as a parent or legal guardian, or
- Your authority to obtain return information for the requested tax year(s) is on file with the IRS and you are providing your CAF number.
Time to Receive Copies of Fraudulent Tax Returns
The IRS shares that there are several factors involved in determining the time required before the redacted copies of returns will be received. These factors include whether there are any open or unresolved issues around the tax return being requested. Nonetheless, the IRS will acknowledge receipt of the request within 30 days. A copy of the return or additional correspondence will be received within 90 days of the request.
As mentioned above, some information will be redacted on the copy of the fraudulent tax return. Nonetheless, the visible information should enable the victim to determine the information the identity thief likely possesses.
Redacted information will include:
- Entire name except the first four letters of the last name of the primary and secondary taxpayer as well as dependents; note that fewer than four letters of the last name will be visible if the last name is four letters or less
- Entire address except the street name for the address of the primary and secondary taxpayer
- Entire name and address for any other persons or entities listed in the return
- Entire taxpayer identification numbers and employer identification numbers except the last four digits
- Personally identifiable numbers (e.g., preparer’s tax identification number)
- Telephone numbers except the last four digits
- Bank routing and account numbers except the last four digits
- Entire signature
It is important to remember that copies of returns are not available for open cases around tax identity theft.
Should have you have questions on how to resolve a tax fraud identity theft or on requesting copies of previously filed fraudulent tax returns, contact Teri M. Kaye, Tax Partner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.