IRS — Protecting and Validating Your Identifty

I know this is nothing related to self-directed IRA or self-administered 401(k) plans. These plans assist an investor in investing their retirement assets into assets permitted by IRS rules, but not offered by your typical brokerage firm. However, sometimes you come across nuggets of information that are useful and is valuable (hopefully) to “throw out” there.

For those of us who have ever had to call the IRS, any notices from the IRS that affects “time” is of value.  The waits are long, and the worst thing ever is to wait for that long hold time, ONLY to not be able to get assistance…..sometimes, by our own doing.

Also, many of us have read about the bad guys out there who are trying to steal our identity when it comes to our taxes.  The IRS has taken efforts to stay one step ahead of the crooks….and, in this regard, here is some helpful information IF you need to call the IRS related to tax questions.

Calls to the IRS — Validating Your Identity

  1. Call Validation — Save yourself time…do not call the IRS unless you are the taxpayer OR have legal, authorized rights to speak on a taxpayer’s behalf.   Sounds rational, but many people will call to assist a parent, a child, etc.  Or they may even call without being able to validate their own personal information.
  2. Calling About Your Refund — The biggest takeaway from this is that a taxpayer should get their mind trained to access “Where’s My Refund?”  In part, IRS employees cannot answer your questions related to your refund until at least 21 days has passed since you submitted your return.  Second, their information is limited to what is actually identified in “Where’s My Refund.”   Further, taxpayers who are e-filing their return and need their prior year adjusted gross income can use the Get Transcript tool on IRS reps cannot provide prior-year adjusted gross income information over the phone.
  3. No Additional Information, So Why Wait on the Phone? — IRS reps do not have additional information than what is identified on “Where’s My Refund.”  So, why call and be frustrated.

Calling About a Personal Tax Account?

Be ready BEFORE you get on the call (and this is so critical):

  1. HAVE your social security number and DOB for all people on your return;
  2. If no social security number, have your TIN (taxpayer identification number);
  3. Know your filing status (e.g., single, married filing jointly)
  4. Due to security issues, the IRS may request prior tax return information from you to verify your identity.  It is not a bad idea to have your previous year’s return on hand;
  5. Similar to #4, if there is a question about your previous year’s return….have it handy.
  6. If you have received letters or notices prior to your call, have them handy.

Calling About Someone Else’s Account?

  1. Should go without saying, but the IRS will only speak to you or a legally designated representative.
  2. If calling on behalf of someone else (e.g., a parent), save yourself angst and be the legally designated representative.
  3. With being designated, you will need to verify the taxpayer’s name, SS#, tax year, any respective forms, etc.
  4. In conjunction with being the legally designated representative, you will need a current completed and signed Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization or a  Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative

If Calling About a Deceased Taxpayer?

Unfortunately, this pops up more than what people expect.  If, unfortunately, this affects you and yours, be prepared to get on the phone with the IRS and fax the following:

  1. The deceased taxpayer’s death certificate, and
  2. Either copies of the Letter of Testamentary approved by the court or IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (for estate executors).

IRS Tip Unrelated to Calls

I read recently a helpful tip from the IRS and your social security information.  If you have even been in a situation where you are divorced and taken back a previous name (e.g., maiden name), or gotten married and changed to a hyphenated name (e.g., John Doe to John Doe-Park), review the occasional social security information you receive from the Social Security Administration.  Sometimes people are not correctly credited with their full social security crediting….and, it can be as simple as reasons like and similar to these I have mentioned.  If you need assistance with this, you will either want to speak to your tax professional or call the IRS to inquire about steps you may take to determine if you have been credited correctly.

As always, the information provided is intended to be educational in nature.  It is not intended, nor should it be interpreted as, any form of tax, legal, financial or investment advice.  You must always consult with the respective professional for such advice.