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I received a form from the IRS to fill out believing someone has stolen my identity.

Detroit, MI |

Someone has filed a tax return with my information that is not me. I would like to get some advice and guidance on what to do and also help with regarding taxes I have not filed in a few years and how this will affect my son when he starts college next year.

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Attorney answers 2


Identity theft is one of the most pervasive problems that the IRS is currently addressing. Consider contacting the Identity Protection Specialized Unit 800-908-4490, as well as completing a Form 14039. I would normally suggest that a taxpayer wait to complete all of his/her past due tax returns before contacting the IRS (since the IRS will inevitably ask you for the prior returns), but this is a serious enough issue that you can't afford to wait. If someone has gone through the trouble of filing a tax return using your identity, then they probably also requested credit under your name. Consider requesting a credit report (you are entitled to one free credit report per year) to determine if accounts have been opened in your name.

If your child is thinking of applying for financial assistance to go to college (e.g., FAFSA), then one of the documents you will need to provide as part of the application packet is a tax return -- so your child's college education could be affected by this situation. These are serious issues, so consider hiring a tax attorney to assist you with your problems. Feel free to contact me if I can assist you with this matter.

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Oscar Javier Ornelas

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First step is to return the forms the IRS send with the requested information. They'll attempt to pursue the matter for you. In addition, if your son's planning to attend college and will be seeking any kind of student loan or grant, your tax returns will be required so you want to get them filed as quickly as possible.

Good luck.

Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California and handles federal tax matters throughout the U.S. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.