IDENTITY THEFT ISSUES

The IRS, in conjunction with the Justice Department and other Federal, state, and local agencies, has intensified their efforts at preventing, detecting, and resolving identity theft and refund fraud.

The identity theft and refund fraud effort has involved 734 enforcement actions involving 389 individuals. The effort included 109 arrests, 189 indictments and complaints, and 47 search warrants.

In addition, the IRS began a special compliance effort that began on
January 28, 2013. IRS auditors and criminal investigators will visit 197 money service businesses to help make sure that these businesses are not assisting identity thieves or refund fraud when cashing checks.  These compliance visits took place in 17 high-risk areas identified by the IRS which included: New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, El Paso, Tucson, Birmingham, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

As part of this effort, the IRS has made a significant increase in the number and quality of identity theft filters in their processing system for the 2013 Filing Season. These filters are designed to spot fraudulent tax returns before the refund is issued.

Also, by late 2012, the IRS has more than doubled the number of IRS employees that are devoted to identity theft related issues.  They have also trained 35,000 employees that work with taxpayers to recognize identity theft indicators and help people victimized by identity theft.

If you have been a victim of identity theft and have not contacted the IRS about this, you should  contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. Once you contact them, the IRS will ask you to complete Form 14039 (IRS Identity Theft Affidavit).

If you receive a notice from the IRS indicating that you might have been the victim of identity theft, you should follow the instructions on that notice.

For more information on what the IRS is doing to help prevent and combat identity theft and what a taxpayer should do if they might have been a victim, see the following:

If you have any questions we, Chicago Accountants are here to help you 773-728-1500!!

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What to Expect for Federal Refunds for the 2013 Filing Season

It is important to set your  expectations for when the IRS will be sending refunds during the upcoming 2013 Filing Season and beyond.

Due to the increase in fraud and identity theft, the IRS is increasing their fraud filters during the processing of all individual returns. This means that a larger number of returns will be reviewed therefore, processing will take longer and the refund will be sent out later for these returns.

The IRS messaging for refunds for the upcoming filing season will be that refunds will be sent to the taxpayer within 21 days from the time the return has been accepted. This message will be the same on the IRS website, “Where’s My Refund?” page, and when a taxpayer calls the IRS help desk.

The refund cycle chart has been eliminated.

You will also notice the following changes to the “Where’s My Refund?” tool for the upcoming filing season:

  • The expected date of when the refund will be sent will no longer be given when the return begins to be processed.
  • The refund status will be presented by way of a status bar as follows:
    • Return Received – From the time the return is received until the refund has been approved the message will be that the return is being processed and that the refund will be sent in less than 21 days.
    • Refund Approved – A date the refund is scheduled to be sent to the bank will be given.
    • Refund Sent – The date the refund was sent.
  • The taxpayer will be able to see the status of their return within 24 hours after their return has been accepted.

The IRS has also begun sending out an additional message to taxpayers that they should not be making major purchases during the holiday season solely on the expectation of when they will receive their refund before the bills arrive.

To learn more see the following:

Please call us, the CPAs in Chicago, at 773-728-1500 if you need help with your individual or corporate tax return.

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