WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers and tax professionals that they will be asked to verify their identities if they call the IRS. This is part of the agency’s efforts to keep taxpayer data secure from identity thieves.
Days before and after Presidents Day mark the peak period for taxpayer phone calls to the IRS. To avoid the rush, callers should be prepared to verify their identities if they need to call the agency.
IRS call center professionals take great care to make certain that they only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. To ensure that taxpayers do not have to call back, the IRS reminds taxpayers to have the following documents ready:
- Social Security numbers and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return in question
- An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a Social Security number (SSN)
- Filing status – Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate
- The prior-year tax return. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
- A copy of the tax return in question
- Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer
By law, IRS assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or to their legally designated representative.
If taxpayers or tax professionals are calling about a third party’s account, they should be prepared to verify their identities and provide information about the third party they are representing. Before calling about a third-party, be sure to have the following information available:
- Verbal or written authorization from the third-party to discuss the account
- The ability to verify the taxpayer’s name, SSN/ITIN, tax period, and tax form(s) filed
- Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) or PIN if a third-party designee
- A current, completed and signed Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization or
- A completed and signed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
Questions regarding a deceased taxpayer require different steps. Be prepared to fax:
- The deceased taxpayer’s death certificate, and
- Either copies of Letters Testamentary approved by the court, or IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (for estate executors)
Answers to general tax questions may be found on IRS.gov. The quickest way to check the status of a tax refund is to go to “Where’s My Refund?” or call 800-829-1954 for automated phone service.