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How to handle income tax identity theft

Georgia residents may have heard about income tax identity theft. The act involves a criminal stealing a person's social security number and using it to file a fraudulent return. The criminal's goal is to trick the IRS into sending a refund based on that fraudulent return. In an effort to combat this problem, the IRS, state tax agencies and private companies have joined forces.

One of the strategies used to reduce income tax identity theft is to track the IP addresses of computers used to file returns. If the same IP address submits multiple returns, it could be a sign of fraud. However, despite the best efforts of the IRS, $3.1 billion in fraudulent refunds were paid out in 2014. This is according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and it is believed that the actual number could be higher than that.

Victims of identity theft may have to wait until their cases are thoroughly investigated before they get their tax refunds. The Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) says that it takes 278 days to resolve such cases. However, the IRS tells taxpayers that their cases will be resolved within 180 days. Filing a police report and Form 14039 along with a paper copy of your tax return may reduce a taxpayer's waiting time.

Those who believe that they have been the victim of tax fraud may want to contact the IRS as soon as possible. It may be possible for a tax law attorney to contact the IRS on a taxpayer's behalf. Furthermore, a tax attorney may be able to represent an individual during the investigation into fraudulent activity using that person's social security number. This may help facilitate a timely investigation that may result in a favorable outcome for the victim.

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