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Understanding Tax-Related Identity Theft

March 9, 2023
Hancock Whitney
Hancock Whitney

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your SSN.


Understanding Tax-Related Identity Theft 

Know the Warning Signs

Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by the IRS regarding:

  • More than one tax return was filed for you
  • You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work
  • The IRS notifies you that an online account was created in your name.
  • The IRS notifies you that your existing online account was accessed or disabled when you took no action.


Steps for Victims of Identity Theft

If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these additional steps:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your e-file return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN or you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach form to your paper return and mail according to instructions.
  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.


Your Hancock Whitney banker is ready to help if you believe you're a victim of identity theft. Visit a financial center near you, or speak with a Client Services Representative at 1-800-448-8812.


Source: IRS-Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers


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