NEW THIS YEAR - ADOR can let you know when a tax return has been filed using your Social Security number! Read on for more on this and many other ways you can protect yourself and help fight tax refund fraud.
Identity theft is a widespread problem that can affect all Alabamians. In 2013, 1.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft and tax refund crimes. Alabama ranks 14th in the nation for identity theft complaints.
The Alabama Department of Revenue is working diligently every day to combat criminals who steal taxpayer identities and use this information to file bogus tax returns. The department has made great strides in enhancing its own systems and processes to weed out these phony returns and stop sending tax refunds to criminals.
In addition, ADOR has partnered with the IRS, other state tax agencies, and companies and trade associations in the tax and financial services industries, a partnership dubbed the Security Summit, to establish stronger security measures, particularly in e-filing, including validation of identity and return information at the time of filing.
Here are some things you need to know and some resources you can use to help ensure that YOU get YOUR money, and not some criminal...
If you have registered at My Alabama Taxes (MAT), and have access to your Individual Income Tax account, you can opt-in to a service that will notify you when ADOR receives Individual Income Tax returns that have been filed using your Social Security number. This service can help alert you to the possibility that criminals have your information and are using it to steal money from you and the state. You can opt-in by logging into your MAT account and following the link, "Notify Me of Filed Returns."
My Alabama Taxes is the convenient and secure way to access a variety of ADOR's online services. In MAT you can quickly and easily file tax returns, make payments, view letters, manage your accounts, and conduct other common transactions with the department.
Once your return is accepted by the Alabama Department of Revenue, you may be asked to complete a 5-minute The ID Confirmation Quiz. The ID Confirmation Quiz is part of an effort designed to protect your identity and your tax refund. Once you have completed the quiz and your identity has been confirmed, ADOR will continue processing your tax return. Those taxpayers asked to take the quiz will receive notification by mail sent to the address on the return. The notification will include specific instructions for completing the quiz.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Generally, a criminal will use your SSN to file a false return early in the year. You may be unaware you are a victim until you receive a notice from ADOR or try to file your taxes and learn one already has been filed using your SSN.
If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:
Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper. Include with the paper return: the Identity Theft Affidavit; a copy of your picture ID (driver's license or non-driver's ID); and one additional form of identification, such as a utility bill or bank statement.
If you were affected by the IRS Get Transcripts breach, please know that we have taken internal steps within our system, noting that you were affected by the IRS Get Transcripts data breach. You will automatically be notified when the Alabama Department of Revenue receives a tax return that has been filed using your Social Security number, alerting you to the possibility that criminals have your information and are using it to steal money from you and the state. You will be sent a verification code and will be asked to verify whether or not you filed a return by going to My Alabama Taxes and clicking on the "Verify My Return" link.
The Security Summit launched this awareness campaign to better inform you about the need to protect your personal, tax and financial data online and at home. People continue to fall prey to clever cybercriminals who trick them into giving up Social Security numbers, account numbers or password information. In turn, criminals use this information a variety of ways, including filing fraudulent tax returns.
Identity thieves have many ways to obtain your personal information. However, there are a number of precautions you can take to minimize your risk. This video provides 5 tips you can use to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud.
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Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information - such as your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, passwords, etc. - to defraud or commit crimes.
You might be a victim of identity theft if:
ADOR is requiring additional information this filing season in an effort to combat stolen identity tax fraud and ensure that your hard-earned tax refund goes to you and not criminals. When you electronically file your Alabama income tax return, you will be required to provide information from your driver's license or state-issued identification card.
Because ADOR is implementing enhanced security measures to help protect Alabamians from occurrences of stolen identity tax refund fraud, it may take us a little longer to process your refund. Processing time varies for each return. You should receive your refund 8 to 12 weeks from the date your return is accepted, provided you do not owe any taxes for prior years or other state agencies.
ADOR may issue your tax refund via a paper check, even if you have selected to receive your refund by prepaid debit card or direct deposit. This helps the department avoid sending your money to an account or debit card controlled by a criminal.