Taxpayers should be ready to verify their identity when calling the IRS

IRS Tax Tip 2019-17, March 4, 2019

Taxpayers and tax professionals who call the IRS will be asked to verify their identities. Being prepared before a call or visit can save taxpayers time by avoiding having to make multiple calls.

Before calling, taxpayers and tax professionals should instead consider using IRS.gov to access resources like the IRS Service Guide to get faster answers to their tax questions.

If a taxpayer decides to call, they should know that IRS phone assistors take great care to only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. To make sure that taxpayers do not have to call back, the IRS reminds taxpayers to have the following information ready:

  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number letter if the taxpayer has one instead of an SSN
  • Their filing status: single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate
  • The prior-year tax return. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
  • A copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer

By law, IRS telephone assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or to the taxpayer’s legally designated representative.

If taxpayers or tax professionals are calling about someone else’s account, they should be prepared to verify their identities and provide information about the person they are representing. Before calling about a third-party, they should have the following information available:

  • Verbal or written authorization from the third-party to discuss the account
  • The ability to verify the taxpayer’s name, SSN or ITIN, tax period, and tax forms filed
  • Preparer Tax Identification Number or PIN if a third-party designee
  • One of these forms, which is current, completed and signed:
    • Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization
    • Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative

Questions regarding a deceased taxpayer require different steps. The caller should be prepared to fax:

  • The deceased taxpayer’s death certificate
  • Either copies of Letters Testamentary approved by the court, or IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship

 

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