On a webpage, the IRS has discussed its Identity Verification Service, used to verify the identity of taxpayers when the IRS thinks there might be a case of identity theft.
If the IRS thinks there might be a case of identity theft and someone besides the taxpayer is trying to get the taxpayer’s refund, then it will send one of a series of letters (letters 4883C, 5071C, 5447C, 5747C, 6330C, and 6331C) asking that the receiver of the letter verify their identity.
There are three ways to verify your identity with the IRS—online, by phone, and in person. If you receive a 4883C or 6330C letter, you must call the IRS to verify your identity.
But if you (1) received a 5071C, 5747C, 6331C, or 5447C letter and (2) your financial and phone information is U.S.-based, then you can verify your identity online using the Identity Verification Service (IVS) website.
The webpage does not give details as to how to determine whether you have U.S.-based financial and phone information.
The webpage mentions that if you received a 5071C, 5747C, 6331C, or 5447C letter and cannot verify online, then you can verify by calling the IRS phone number listed in the letter. Thus, if your financial or phone information is not U.S.-based, then you can verify via phone. The webpage also says that taxpayers who do not have the required documentation (discussed below) should also verify via phone.
If the IRS can’t verify your identity over the phone, it may ask you to schedule an appointment at your local IRS office to verify your identity in person.
To use IVS, you first have to register. Then you can verify your identity. To register and verify, you need the following five things. You will need to enter some of this information into the IVS website:
- Your personal account number from a:
- Credit card,
- Student loan,
- Home equity loan or home equity line of credit, or
- Car loan
- A mobile phone associated with your name.
- Your 5071C letter, 5747C letter, 5447C letter, or 6331C letter.
- The income tax return (Form 1040, 1040-PR, 1040-NR, 1040-SR, etc.) for the year shown on the letter. The IRS notes that a Form W-2 or 1099 is not an income tax return.
- Your mailing address from your previous year’s tax return.
The webpage does not give details as to what is meant by “previous year’s tax return.” For example, if the letter shows 2017, and you have already filed your 2020 return, it isn’t clear whether the “previous year’s tax return” refers to 2016 or 2019.
If you have filed a tax return with a new address, you must enter the old address from the previous year, even if it’s not your current address. If you just filed your first tax return, then select the option labeled “I have not filed a tax return in the past seven years” as your filing status.