Identity theft, IRS edition
February 18, 2016 2:12 PM   Subscribe

What measures should I take after learning that someone else has filed taxes using my SSN?

Unfortunately the question is fairly self-explanatory: I filed my Federal tax return only to learn that someone else used my SSN to file their taxes.

Steps i have taken so far:
1. Instituted a freeze with the credit reporting agencies. Apparently this is in effect for 90 days.
2. Filled out IRS form 14039 about identity theft and submitted to them. They have confirmed receipt.

My comcerns are two-fold:
What kind of hot water am or will I be in with the IRS? And, not incidentally, will I ever get my refund?
What other measures should I take to prevent the damage from spreading to other areas of my finances and credit? I am in Tennessee. Thanks for your collective wisdom. I am feeling pretty panicky right now.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, literally just today one of my coworkers came to me freaking out because the same thing had just happened to him. Make sure to go through every step on I know my coworker spent a good bit of time on the phone today with the IRS and when he left work a little while ago he seemed much calmer about the whole thing. He's gone through the steps on the ID theft website and is working with an accountant to make sure he covers all his bases.

He's also pulling his credit reports and asked Chase to issue him a new card number just in case anything else is weird.

Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 2:17 PM on February 18, 2016

Oh hi! I went through this last year. Here are some additional things to do and things I learned along the way.

* Now that you have filled out the identity theft form, you will need to send your taxes in the old fashioned way (paper). If you sent in your taxes WITH the identity theft form, you will have to send the tax forms in again, separately.

* File a complaint with the FTC at

* Prepare to call the identity theft hotline a LOT and be on hold for long periods of time to find out the status of your case

* Your taxes are going to take a long time to be processed because they have to get to a certain point in the fraud case first. Seriously. It took mine a year; I just got my refund from 2014 LAST WEEK (but with interest, so hooray for that?). You will eventually get your refund and you will not be in any hot water with the IRS.

* You may be given a special identity protection PIN to file taxes next year. I was not but I am going to see if I can demand one. This will prevent anybody from filing taxes who doesn't know the PIN.

Memail me if you need reassurance or have additional questions!
posted by joan_holloway at 2:27 PM on February 18, 2016

This happened to me, and it's not as big of a deal as it feels like it might be, so go ahead and calm down.

Do the thing. It covers all of the generic identity theft stuff.

The IRS will send you more information. Just do what they say. You're not in any hot water at all with them. File your taxes normally, though you'll probably have to send them paper forms. If you used software of an online route, there's a way to print the forms complete with the information you already provided so you don't have to start all over. If I remember correctly, I sent my printed tax return and the 14039 together, even.
posted by cmoj at 2:28 PM on February 18, 2016

This happened to us last year. We did the steps detailed above and then eventually had to file taxes on paper. The IRS gave us a PIN we (or our accountant) have to use to file from now on.

This was all a little bit of a scary initial hassle but in the end not a huge deal for us, anyway. It is a very, very common scam, you are not in trouble with the IRS, and in our case did not mean anything else in our financial life was compromised (although we did put a freeze on our credit just to be sure, and watched our bank transactions carefully for a while after).
posted by charmedimsure at 4:21 PM on February 18, 2016

This has happened to me, too. At first I freaked out, but then I talked to the IRS and they said it was someone listing my SSN as belonging to a dependent and they had probably just written it wrong and kept writing it wrong. It happened for something like five years in a row.

My account is now flagged so that when this happens again -- it didn't happen last year; maybe I filed my taxes before the other person did! -- I just get a letter and the IRS asks me to file by mail instead.
posted by vickyverky at 4:39 PM on February 18, 2016

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