Trying to Get a Handle on Identity Theft

Rick Walter, CPA
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Did you know that the IRS issued over $5.2 Billion in fraudulent refunds last year? I’ve heard that the profit from Identity Theft has exceeded the profits from the drug trade. No wonder criminals are retooling their operations towards a crime that does not need a gun or a fast boat or plane has flexible hours and the only requirement is some skill with a computer.

What does all this mean to you? Our BHW clients were not impacted by identity theft until the last few years when so many data breaches occurred. The Archdiocese breach was the first one that hit many of our clients. After that, Target, the IRS and many other breaches meant that filing was not going to go smoothly.

Once your return is electronically filed, we find out quickly if someone has filed a return using your social security number. The thieves usually file the very first day the IRS accepts electronic filing so they will be the first one to use the social security number.

The best help out there right now (other than safeguarding your information) is the IPPIN which is a six digit pin number that is needed for the IRS to accept your return as the true return.

Not everyone can have an IPPIN (although I think that would be a good idea). You have to have been involved in identity theft to receive one. Or, at least you have to believe you are involved with identity theft. For example, if files with sensitive information were stolen out of your car, you can file a form 14039 and tell the IRS you either been a victim or are exposed to being a victim. This will start the process.

As usual, we are here to help you. Contact us right away if you believe your identity has been compromised. We can’t do much about someone running up charges on your credit card but we can help where it impacts your tax returns.

I left the humor out of this article as I could not find anything funny surrounding this subject—levity will return next time.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Author: Rick Walter, CPA

Rick Walter brings over 25 years of professional tax and accounting experience to Hutchinson & Walter. Specializing in small to mid-size business entities and start up organizations, Rick brings a deep understanding of the unique tax compliance and accounting issues specific to those entities.

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