The IRS has issued a fact sheet explaining the identity theft victim assistance process and procedures involved in resolving tax-related identity theft cases. The Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, should be filed if the taxpayer attempts to file an electronic tax return and the IRS rejects it because a return bearing the taxpayer’s Social Security number (SSN) already has been filed, or, it should be filed if the IRS instructs the taxpayer to do so.

In situations where the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return based on hundreds of processing filters and pulls the suspicious return for review, the taxpayer will receive Letter 5071C, which will ask them to use an online tool to verify their identity and tell the IRS if they filed the return in question. For those who have been a victim of a data breach, they may receive Letter 5747C and be asked to verify their identity in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. The taxpayers should complete and file Form 14039, which goes to the Identity Theft Victim Assistance (IDTVA) organization where it will be handled by employees with specialized training. The IRS also noted that certain tax-related identity theft victims will be placed into the Identity Protection PIN program to add an extra layer of identity protection. The taxpayers who are victims of identity theft will receive a letter (CP01A) with an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) prior to the start of the next filing season to help protect their tax returns going forward.

Some taxpayers who are not victims of tax-related identity theft may use the Form 14039 to obtain an IP PIN by checking Box 2 on the form, indicating no tax administration impact. They will receive a letter inviting them to use the “Get an IP PIN” tool to obtain an IP PIN. However, these taxpayers should be aware that they must pass a rigorous identity-proofing process called Secure Access. This process is intentionally difficult in order to keep cybercriminals who have stolen personal data from accessing the tool. For more details, taxpayers can also visit the Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance and FTC’s site,