Get an Identity Verification Letter from the IRS? Here's What You Should Do

Get an Identity Verification Letter from the IRS? Here's What You Should Do
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July 6, 2015

Did you receive a letter (5071C) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asking you to verify your identity? The agency is reminding taxpayers that the Identity Verification Service website offers the fastest, easiest way to complete the task.

Taxpayers may receive a letter when the IRS stops suspicious tax returns that have indications of being fraudulent, but contain a real taxpayer's name and/or Social Security number.

To verify identity, the website will ask a series of questions that only the real taxpayer can answer. Only those taxpayers receiving Letter 5071C should access the site.

Once identity is verified, taxpayers can then confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. If they did not file the return, the IRS can take steps at that time to assist them. If they did file the return, it will take approximately six weeks to process it and issue a refund.

Letter 5071C is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the address on the return in question. It asks taxpayers to verify their identity so that the IRS can complete processing the return if the taxpayer did file it, or reject the return if the taxpayer did not file it. The IRS does not request such information via email, nor will the IRS call a taxpayer directly to ask for this information without sending a letter first. The letter number can be found in the upper corner of the page.

The letter gives taxpayers two options to contact the IRS and confirm whether or not they filed the return. Taxpayers may use the Identity Verification Service website site or call the toll-free number on the letter.

Taxpayers should have their prior year tax return and their current year tax return available, if they filed one, including supporting documents such as Forms W-2 and 1099 and Schedules A and C.

The IRS says that taxpayers should ALWAYS be aware of potential tax scams, efforts by con artists to solicit sensitive personal information, and other IRS impersonations. However, the Identity Verification Service website is a secure, IRS-supported site that allows taxpayers to verify their identities quickly and safely.

IRS.gov is the official IRS website. To avoid becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft, always look for a URL ending with ".gov"— not ".com," ".org," ".net," or other nongovernmental URLs.