IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

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MnD
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IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by MnD » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:37 pm

Well that was interesting. My tax return refund status "disappeared" from the IRS's where's my refund web site a couple weeks ago and today I got an IRS letter indicating I needed to verify my identity to continue the refund process. After quite a convoluted process on the idverify IRS web site involving cell phone text codes, emailed codes, control numbers from letter, credit agency verification for a credit card number (last 8 digits), user name, password, security phrase, security image, and verification of a few numbers on my tax return I "passed" and can expect my refund in about 9 weeks.

I think it was my own return that prompted the letter. Compared to 2017 and many past years I switched from Turbotax to another software and changed my bank and routing/account number for refund routing versus past years. IRS gave no indication that another return had been filed and my initial filing was accepted by the IRS within an hour or so of filing. Odd.
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MnD
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by MnD » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:17 pm

Here's an article on what's going on with these letters. Apparently the ID verify letters have a 2/3rds false positive rate - ie. something in a legitimate return trips the fraud filter. When I went through this I was thinking how many people must fail their own ID verify test. I passed but apparently many don't and have to then make an appointment and travel to an IRS office to verify their identity and get their refund process back on track.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 166441002/
The 59-year-old resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana was expecting a small refund – just $327. But after submitting her return electronically on the first tax filing day in January, she got a letter from the IRS about two weeks later asking her to verify her identity. She could do it online, over the phone or in person.

When she called, the IRS representative asked a series of questions to confirm her identity: address, last tax filing, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, father’s name, and the source of her income in 2012. She answered all but one correctly. She couldn’t remember the administrator of investment funds that sent her a 1099 form in 2012.

That single memory lapse was enough to upend everything. “She told me I had failed the entire identity test and I couldn’t get my refund unless I went to an IRS local office,” says Henry, who doesn’t have a car.
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Stinky
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by Stinky » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:44 pm

MnD wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:17 pm
Here's an article on what's going on with these letters. Apparently the ID verify letters have a 2/3rds false positive rate - ie. something in a legitimate return trips the fraud filter. When I went through this I was thinking how many people must fail their own ID verify test. I passed but apparently many don't and have to then make an appointment and travel to an IRS office to verify their identity and get their refund process back on track.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 166441002/
The 59-year-old resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana was expecting a small refund – just $327. But after submitting her return electronically on the first tax filing day in January, she got a letter from the IRS about two weeks later asking her to verify her identity. She could do it online, over the phone or in person.

When she called, the IRS representative asked a series of questions to confirm her identity: address, last tax filing, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, father’s name, and the source of her income in 2012. She answered all but one correctly. She couldn’t remember the administrator of investment funds that sent her a 1099 form in 2012.

That single memory lapse was enough to upend everything. “She told me I had failed the entire identity test and I couldn’t get my refund unless I went to an IRS local office,” says Henry, who doesn’t have a car.
Very interesting. Evidently the IRS has gotten really cautious about processing refunds if things look at all suspicious. IRS must be seeing a lot of fraudulent requests for refunds to go to this extent.

My solution - shoot to slightly underpay taxes through the year by minimizing withholding, and then send IRS a small amount of money when tax return is filed. (I don't expect that IRS will ask to verify my identity before they cash my check!)
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rkhusky
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by rkhusky » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:59 pm

Stinky wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:44 pm
My solution - shoot to slightly underpay taxes through the year by minimizing withholding, and then send IRS a small amount of money when tax return is filed. (I don't expect that IRS will ask to verify my identity before they cash my check!)
I always shoot to owe about $500 and mail in my return. I don't need to hurry to get my taxes done to get my refund. I can use my canceled check as evidence that the IRS got my return. I don't need to worry about ID thieves blocking my e-file and/or delaying a refund. I don't make an interest-free loan to the government.

khh
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by khh » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:28 pm

MnD wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:37 pm
Well that was interesting. My tax return refund status "disappeared" from the IRS's where's my refund web site a couple weeks ago and today I got an IRS letter indicating I needed to verify my identity to continue the refund process. After quite a convoluted process on the idverify IRS web site involving cell phone text codes, emailed codes, control numbers from letter, credit agency verification for a credit card number (last 8 digits), user name, password, security phrase, security image, and verification of a few numbers on my tax return I "passed" and can expect my refund in about 9 weeks.

I think it was my own return that prompted the letter. Compared to 2017 and many past years I switched from Turbotax to another software and changed my bank and routing/account number for refund routing versus past years. IRS gave no indication that another return had been filed and my initial filing was accepted by the IRS within an hour or so of filing. Odd.
I just received an IRS verification letter as well. My accountant's firm used something called "SafeReturn" for the first time this year, so maybe that triggered it. A couple of questions.

1. Which account did they ask for your user name, password, security phrase and security image?

Edit: After rereading, I see that that info was for a credit card account.

2. Should I have my accountant on the phone with me while I go through the verification process with the IRS?
Last edited by khh on Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mariezzz
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by mariezzz » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:20 pm

One more reason to make sure (if at all possible) you're having to pay a bit, or at least getting a very small refund! I doubt you'll have to jump through hoops if you owe them money.

Doesn't sound like the verification system is all that easy for elderly to use.

Someone's going to start imitating these IRS letters to try to scam people into giving away personal information that can be used for identity theft.

RetiredAL
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by RetiredAL » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:42 pm

If I ever get flagged, I'm likely screwed because the two bigger Credit Bureau's can't identify me to my address.

You see, I'm the Trustee for my Dad's Trust, which holds two homes in towns different than mine. Add that I'm the joint owner of his bank and all credit card accounts, which reference his address, not mine. I guess no one at the bureaus ever envisioned a son taking care of his elderly Dad's finances.

Thus I've had trouble getting my credit reports. My last car loan was thru a Credit Union that I've had a long term relationship with, not via the dealer, otherwise I'd likely had issues there too.

khh
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by khh » Wed May 01, 2019 3:05 pm

I just got my ID verification approved by phone. I was put on hold for 10 minutes and the conversation itself was about 5 minutes or so. Asked for name, address, DOB, SSN, Mom and Dad's full names, amount of the refund expected and amount on a W-2 from 2017. All in all, it was quick and painless.

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tadamsmar
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:48 pm

I got one too. I don't know why, but my refund was $900+. I jumped through all the hoops online and verified my return.

I checked my IRS refund status and the status was "in process".

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pokebowl
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by pokebowl » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:13 pm

My spouse and I just received a 5071C letter in the mail as well for tax year 2019. The verification process was painless, more so because we already have accounts on the IRS website. Not sure if that reduced our verification or not but the questions only asked us about the 1040 form we submitted.

What wasn't clear, to me anyway, was since this was in regards to a joint return if both my spouse and I need to verify. The site didn't seem to indicate either way nor did the IRS documentation on the 5071C form.

RudyS
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by RudyS » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:01 pm

IRS still unpredictable. I had half expected such a letter due to whopping refund, plus we moved mid-year so new address, and bank. But all was good, took about a week and my refund was deposited! Just never know what to expect.

OnTrack
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by OnTrack » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:24 am

mariezzz wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:20 pm
...
Someone's going to start imitating these IRS letters to try to scam people into giving away personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Good point. So how do I verify that the letter is really from the IRS?

Momus
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by Momus » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:38 am

OnTrack wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:24 am
mariezzz wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:20 pm
...
Someone's going to start imitating these IRS letters to try to scam people into giving away personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Good point. So how do I verify that the letter is really from the IRS?
You call IRS. Google it instead of calling the phone number on the letter.

RudyS
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Re: IRS Letter 5071C (ID verify)

Post by RudyS » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:09 pm

I got a letter from Massachusetts asking me to send W2 and 1099 forms to substantiate my claim for withholding. They did provide the number I had filed for total withholding, so it seems legit. This was my first time filing in Mass. due to a move.

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