Brookville H&R Block Tax Tips: Tax Identity Theft – How to Protect Yourself Advice From H&R Block

BROOKVILLE, Pa. – Brookville H&R Block issued the following press release:

Tax identity theft occurs when someone takes your personal information and uses it to file a fraudulent tax return in order to obtain a refund from the IRS. They have the refund sent to their own bank account. Then, when you go to file your tax return, the IRS may reject it because it sees your tax return as a duplicate.

Handling a case of tax identity theft can take months – and that means months of you not getting your tax refund. The burden of proving that the initial tax return is false rests on the victim. You would have to provide proof that you are the legitimate filer and the other tax return is fraudulent. Most importantly, you have to show you didn’t receive the refund.

What’s being done to address this?

For one, the IRS has instituted the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program. The IP PIN is a unique identifier that is only available to the rightful filer of the return. The IP PIN changes every year, and once you obtain one it must be used on every tax return you file, indefinitely.

Further, the IRS is also dedicating more employees to victim case resolution and pursuing more criminal investigations and enforcement.

H&R Block is also working to help provide products that can help better protect you from tax identity theft. For the second year, we are offering the Tax Identity Shield. The Tax Identity Shield offers unique protection for this painful problem and gives you confidence knowing you’re taking the right steps to help reduce your risk of becoming a victim when you file your next tax return.

What is the Tax Identity Shield?

There are several features included in the Tax Identity Shield.

1. Proactive Defense – Assistance obtaining additional identity theft protections offered by the IRS (including an Identity Protection PIN1 and Identity Theft indicator) to help better protect against thieves filing a fraudulent tax return with your information (subject to eligibility).
2. Detection and Notification – A tax eFile notification if your information is detected on a tax return filed through H&R Block.
3. Risk Alert & Information – A tax identity theft risk assessment to determine if your information may be at risk and steps to help reduce your risk.2
4. Education – Information on the latest scams and threats, as well as what you can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
5. Restoration Assistance – Access to tax identity restoration assistance2 to help restore your tax identity if necessary.
6. Equifax Credit Score and Credit Report3

If you are interested in learning more, talk with your H&R Block tax professional.

What if my identity has already been stolen?

If you go to file your tax return this year and discover that someone has already filed a tax return using your personal information, H&R Block can still help out. Talk with one of our tax professionals about Limited Tax Identity Restoration Assistance. This service will help you file the correct form with the IRS, and give you a checklist so you know the steps to take to make the necessary police reports, notify the credit bureaus as well as the FTC and Social Security Administration, contact your financial institutions and more.

Tax identity theft is definitely a headache, but we here at H & R Block are here to help make it a little easier on you.

We know people are busy, so to help finish their returns before the IRS deadline, Block is extending hours in offices nationwide.

Walk in, make an appointment or drop off your paperwork, and we will complete your return while you’re doing other things. Visit one of our offices for help today.

Information provided by H&R Block, Brookville, Pa.

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