Understanding your 5071C notice

What this notice is about

We received a federal income tax return, Form 1040-series, filed under your Social Security number (SSN) or individual tax identification number (ITIN). To protect you from identity theft, we need you to verify your identity and the tax return so we can continue processing it. If you didn’t file a tax return, you must let us know.

What you need to do immediately

  1. Go to Identity and Tax Return Verification Service to verify your identity and the tax return, you must let us know if you did or didn’t file. It’s quick, secure, and available 24 hours a day.
    • You must register on the website before verifying your identity.
    • Be sure to check the website and prepare all the documents needed to complete the registration.
    • You must either create an account or sign in with an existing account.
  2. After signing in, you’ll then answer questions about the tax return.
    • If you DIDN’T file a tax return, you may be a victim of identity theft. You can indicate that you didn’t file a return on the website.
    • If you DID file a tax return, have the following ready.
      • A copy of your notice 5071C
      • A copy of the tax return for the tax year shown in the notice.

Important: We won’t be able to process your tax return until you answer the tax return questions. If you verified your identity, but didn’t answer the tax return questions, you must sign in again and answer the questions.

If you want to call us

Call the Taxpayer Protection Program hotline on the notice.

Note: We won’t be able to process your tax return until we hear from you.

Have ALL of the following available when you call:

  • The 5071C notice
  • The Form 1040-series tax return referenced in the notice (Forms W-2 and 1099 aren’t tax returns)
  • A prior year tax return, other than the year in the notice, if available. (Forms W-2 and 1099 aren’t tax returns)
  • Supporting documents for each year’s tax return you filed (e.g., Form W-2, Form 1099, Schedule C, Schedule F, etc.)

If you DIDN’T file a tax return: Someone may have filed a fraudulent tax return using your name and SSN or ITIN. If you didn’t file a tax return for the tax year shown on your notice, let us know immediately as you may be victim of identity theft.

Note: An authorized third party can represent you and call us on your behalf, but we must have a completed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of RepresentativePDF, on file for the representative. Otherwise, you and that person must call us together and you must participate on the call.

Note: The Taxpayer Protection Program hotline is for identity and tax return verification ONLY. No other tax-related information, including refund status, is available.

Frequently asked questions

What if I’m incarcerated?

You must coordinate with your Prison Official.

What happens if I don’t verify immediately?

Until we hear from you, we won’t be able to process your tax return, issue refunds, or credit any overpayments to your account.

What happens if I can’t verify online or by phone?

We’ll ask you to schedule an appointment and bring the documents listed above to your local IRS office to verify in person.

What happens after I successfully verify?

We’ll process your tax return. It may take up to 9 weeks to receive your refund or credit any overpayment to your account. However, if we find other problems, we’ll contact you again and this may delay your refund.

You may check the status of your tax refund using Where’s My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app after 2 to 3 weeks.

What else can I do to protect my identity?

Refer to Publication 5027, Identity Theft Information for TaxpayersPDF, or visit Identity Theft Central.

Getting an IRS Identity Protection PIN can help prevent misuse of your taxpayer identification number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. Learn more at Get an Identity Protection PIN (IPPIN).

Need help?