We recently became aware of IRS’ latest tool in the fight against identity theft and want to share it with you. IRS Letter 5071-C looks like it might be a scam, but it is NOT – it’s the real deal. If you receive this letter in the mail, it means IRS has received a tax return in your name that for one reason or another they deem suspicious. The form will direct you to a website, idverify.irs.gov, that attempts to determine if your account with IRS has been “hacked.” Alternatively this letter offers an 800 number to call.
Please be aware that you will NEVER be asked to verify your identification via email and the IRS will NEVER initiate contact with you to verify your identification via phone.
Here are some facts from the IRS website (www.irs.gov) that give further insight and answer some questions that you may have regarding Letter 5071 C.
So, if you have gotten this letter what does it mean?
This letter is meant to inform you that the IRS received a tax return with your name and/or social security number and needs to verify that you filed the return (someone else did not file a false return).
What should I do if I receive this letter?
If you receive Letter 5071C, you should access idverify.irs.gov. Once on the site you will be asked a series of questions to verify your identity. After you verify your identity, you can confirm whether you actually filed the tax return that the IRS has flagged. If you did not file the tax return, the IRS will assist you in taking the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
What about my refund?
If you did file the return, your return will be processed and you’ll be issued a refund, if one is due.
Please note that if you are uncomfortable using the website or are unable to access the internet you can also call a toll free number that is listed on the letter (but it is the IRS you’re calling so expect a wait).
Identity theft is becoming more and more common so remember a few key things:
- 1. Don’t respond to email claiming to be from IRS.
- 2. Don’t give personal details on the phone like social security numbers or birthdates.
- 3. IRS.gov is the official IRS web site. So when visiting an IRS website always look for a URL ending with .gov – not .com, .org, .net, or anything else.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this issue or if you are ever unsure about a communication you receive from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another tax authority.
Have a great summer!
The VCPA Team
Document dated 07/15/2015