Does the IRS Verify Your Identity?

  • Does the IRS Verify Your Identity?
12 Mar, 2024
Daniel Cohen
5 min
does the irs verify your identity

The IRS can verify your identity if it believes there is fraud related to a tax filing.

The IRS has the ability to check if you are really who you say you are in certain situations.

As of last year, there has been a significant increase in tax-related identity theft issues. Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started monitoring tax returns more meticulously than ever.

The consequences of identity theft and identity fraud are sweeping and can impact not only your tax returns but also nearly every other aspect of your financial profile, including your credit, assets, and benefits. Because of this crime's broad and swift reach, an experienced identity theft attorney is your greatest ally in making a full recovery. 

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One of the most frequent identity theft scams is someone using a person’s name and social security number to file an illegal return and steal the tax refund. Hence, if the IRS suspects a fraudulent activity behind the tax return filing, they conduct additional steps to verify the person’s identity and ensure all information provided applies to the person listed on the return.

Even though these extra steps prolong the tax return and refund process, it is important to go through the proper procedure to avoid major risks and scams. Therefore, for anyone who receives a request from the IRS to verify your identity, your best course of action is to cooperate and handle the situation in the following manner:

  • First, if the IRS suspects a fraudulent activity behind your tax filing and risk of identity theft, they will send you a special letter called 50171C letter.
  • The letter’s main purpose is to notify you that even though the return presented at the agency had your name and social security details, they suspect it is used by someone else.
  • Next, the letter will present you with steps to take to verify your identity and confirm if the return filed is yours or not.
  • The IRS offers two ways of identity verification:
  • Online via the IRS Identity Verification Service website
  • A toll-free helpline listed on your 5071C letter
  • Note this isn’t a mandated procedure for everyone – only for people who receive this letter via mail.
  • The letter will never be emailed to you or through the phone.
  • If you receive an email or call, notify the IRS authorities as soon as possible.

Bottom Line

Remaining cautious about sharing your personal information is the best way to avoid getting involved in any potential identity theft risks. However, it is best to comply with the IRS when you do so. 

Still unsure how to go about the whole ordeal? Consumer Attorneys will work with you to comply with the IRS and even obtain compensation for the identity theft. Contact us for more details to get started today!

About the author
Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is a Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys and a co-chair of Consumer Finance Litigation practice. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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