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Understanding Your CP01E Notice

What this notice is about

We issue the CP01E notice to taxpayers who may be victims of identity theft because someone other than the valid Social Security number (SSN) owner used the tax payer's SSN and possibly their personal information for employment.

What you need to do

This notice is for informational purposes only. You don’t need to take any action related to your taxes at this time. Please continue to file all applicable tax returns timely.

You may want to

  • Review your earnings with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure their records are correct. You can create an account on their website which can assist you if an unauthorized person used your SSN.
  • Monitor your credit reports and all financial accounts for signs of misuse of your personal information.
  • Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies listed below.

  • You only need to contact one of the credit bureaus. When requesting a “fraud alert,” the bureau you contact must contact the other two.

Answers to common questions

I received a CP01E notice from the IRS. What does it mean?

We became aware that your SSN was used by another person for employment. Your SSN was used on a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, that we determined doesn’t belong to you. We don’t know if the use of your SSN on the Form W-2 was intentional or accidental and we’re also not aware if any other personal information other than your SSN was used on the Form W-2. Because of the risks and potential negative impacts associated with identity theft, we’re informing you so you can decide if you want to take proactive actions to protect your identity and prevent further misuse of your personal information.

You can find a list of suggested actions to protect your personal information, including contacting credit agencies and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on your notice.

The CP01E notice is not a bill and the use of your SSN in this incident hasn’t affected your ability to file a tax return or make a payment.

For more information on identity theft related to employment, visit Employment Related Identity Theft.

Do I need to take any further actions to protect my identity?

Because the use of your SSN for employment purposes doesn't affect your tax account, you don’t need to take further actions related to your taxes.  However, you may want to take additional protective actions to protect your personal information if that information was compromised.

Review the information on your notice or visit Identity Protection or Employment Related Identity Theft for actions you can take to further protect your identity. You can also visit the FTC’s identity theft page for more resources.

Can I find out any more information about the use of my SSN?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find out who used your SSN. We generated this notice automatically when someone used your SSN on a Form W-2 and attached it to another return (known as a “mismatch”). Federal disclosure laws prevent us from disclosing any taxpayer information to you. Also, our systems don’t capture the actual content of the Form W-2 that generated the notice.

The letter is addressed to a deceased person in care of a surviving spouse or personal representative or to a married couple or a minor child.  Whose number was used and what should I do?

The first name on the letter indicates whose SSN we identified as being used for employment. We mailed the notice to the names and address of record used on the last tax return filing for that person. If the person is not deceased, you should contact the SSA and follow the guidance on the notice or in the “You may want to” section above. If the person is deceased, you should make sure that all financial accounts under the decedent’s SSN are closed.

Minor children can also be victims of identity theft. You should take the same steps, to the extent possible, as you would with an adult to make sure someone didn’t use the minor child’s SSN for other purposes without the child’s knowledge. Most children don’t have credit accounts or Social Security earnings, so the presence of either of these can be an indication of identity theft.

Has the use of my Social Security number for employment had or will have any effect on my current or previous year taxes?

No, the use of your SSN in this manner has not affected your current year or prior year taxes. You should continue to file and pay your taxes as you normally would. We placed an indicator on your account to prevent any income related to the incorrect Form W-2 from being assessed against your tax account.

How did somebody get my information?

Identity thieves can get personal information through a variety of methods including data breaches, telephone scams, phishing, or stealing things from mailboxes. Visit Identity Theft Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance or the FTC’s identity theft page for more information on protective actions you can take.

What is the IRS doing to protect me from this happening again?

We placed a marker on your account to assist us in identifying income that may not belong to you so that we don’t incorrectly include it or assess it against your legitimate taxable income.   

Who can I contact if I have questions about my CP01E notice?

Call the toll-free number on the top right corner of your notice.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about my account related to identity theft but not related to the CP01E notice or to employment -related identity theft?

Call the toll-free number at the top right corner of your notice. We can assist you with account-related identity theft questions. 

Where can I find more information on preventing identity theft?

Printable samples of this notice (PDF)

How to get help