The Purpose of IRS Form 5071C

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Just thinking about the Internal Revenue Service is enough to give most people at least a hint of indigestion, but what if the IRS reaches out and taps you on the shoulder to let you know it needs a moment of your time? 

If you receive communications in the mail from the IRS, saying that you'll feel nervous or even scared is probably an understatement, but if what you receive is a Form 5071C, it might not stem from anything you've done wrong but rather from something someone else is trying to do to you. It's important to review the information and take action right away if you receive this notice because its purpose is to protect you, not punish you. 

Form 5071C

The IRS Form 5071C is a communication from the IRS that requests additional information regarding your identity. The IRS just wants to verify that you are the individual who filed a tax return. Victims of Social Security identity theft might be familiar with the form because it's often the first notice a tax fraud victim receives that someone has stolen his identity. 

You'll typically receive this letter if the IRS has received a federal income tax return with your name or Social Security number associated with it. The IRS picked up on one or more red flags that made it suspect that it might not have been you who filed the return and who seeks a refund. The form asks for some identifying information and that you confirm that you did submit the return.

What To Do If You Receive One

If you receive Form 5071C, take the following steps:

  • Use the security identification website It is a secure site run by the IRS where you can enter your information and verify your return electronically. 
  • If you don't have access to the Internet or if you would prefer to resolve the issue over the phone, just call the number listed on your Form 5071C letter. The call center specialist will help you navigate through the process and resolve it as quickly as possible.
  • If you did not file the return listed on Form 5071C, you could inform the IRS either on the website or by calling the number on the form. 

    The website and number are only for tax return identification purposes. Neither option can help you with tax refund status or other issues. 

    You'll need several forms of identification on hand when you contact the IRS. They'll ask you to provide your Social Security number, your driver's license number if you have one, and a copy of your birth certificate. The IRS will likely ask you questions about last year's tax return, such as what your adjusted gross income was, for further proof that you are you. 

    What Happens With the Return

    Your tax return will be processed after it's verified as legitimate. There's no need to resubmit your return or to make any additional payments. It can sometimes take as long as nine weeks to process your return after your identity has been confirmed. 

    If the Return Was False...

    You should take other measures to protect your identity after you notify the IRS that your tax return was falsified. Notify the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Tell them that you have reason to believe that you are at risk for credit fraud and identity theft. You can have a freeze put on your accounts so that no one can open any others, such as new credit cards, in your name.