Some really wonderful news came across my desk last week. The Internal Revenue Service capitalize Internal Revenue Service launched a new taxpayers hotline for consumers who believe they may be victims of identity theft! A decade in the making, this news has come as a welcome relief for those of us who pay attention to Social Security identity theft, and its big brother Tax Fraud.
It’s easy to see that our hard earned money is of great concern to us, especially when an estimated 15% of us don’t even have jobs. I know, the mainstream media has been putting that number around 8%, however there are certain government tricks that are used to cut the numbers in half. The biggest one is only counting people who are drawing unemployment insurance benefits. But some sources prefer to use the U-6 Rate, which also takes into account people who are working part time jobs because they cannot find fulltime employment.
But the country’s financial problems don’t end here. It can be hard enough not having a job, but things get exponentially worse if somebody uses your Social Security number to get a job of their own. This is not uncommon, because the Federal government requires a Social Security number to be provided for tax purposes. And if the social security administration gets money based on your Social Security number, this gets reported to the IRS, who expect to receive Federal withholding tax. Obviously, if you haven’t worked in the previous year, you will not think you’d need to pay any taxes, since you didn’t earn any money. You may find, however, that you’re mistaken.
As with all swords, there is another edge to this. If you have worked over the previous year, you expect that you are going to pay taxes. This means filling out tax forms, and sending them off to the IRS. They perform some complicated math, look at your return, giggle a little, and send you a letter telling you when they will be coming by to pick up your firstborn.
All right, maybe that’s a little harsh, but it sure can feel that way sometimes.
The exploding problem for the past several years has been a much more difficult scenario: you fill in your tax forms, start planning how to spend your refund, but instead get a letter a couple of weeks later telling you that your return has been rejected because you have already filed this year, and they have already sent you your check. You may scratch your head, and go to check your bank account before calling them up to tell them there seems to be a mistake, but the end result is that you do not get your refund.
The IRS has known about this problem for some time now, and has finally come up with a solution to the problem: a toll free hotline! What, precisely, happens when you call is still a matter of conjecture, though. Despite multiple requests, your Guide has not been able to talk about the new program with anyone in the Department of Internal Revenue. Based on a dramatic rise in complaints over the previous two years, it is entirely possible that they’re too busy answering the phone to get back with me.
If you have run across a problem like this, the IRS suggests you call their toll free number: 800-908-4490. They will also want you to fill out Form 14039 (PDF), which is their Identity Theft Affidavit. You may also want to look at other IRS information about identity theft on their website.