Understanding your letter 5447C

What this letter 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 your 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 5447C
      • A copy of the tax return for the tax year shown in the letter.
  • 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 or write us

If you prefer talking to a representative and you are inside the U.S., call the Taxpayer Protection Program hotline in the letter.

If you prefer talking to a representative and you are outside the U.S., call our international line in the letter.

Have ALL of the following available when you call:

  • The 5447C letter
  • The Form 1040-series tax return referenced in the letter (Forms W-2 and 1099 aren't tax returns)
  • A prior year tax return, other than the year in the letter, if available (Forms W-2 and 1099 aren't tax returns)
  • Supporting documents for each year's tax return (Form W-2, Form 1099, Schedule C, Schedule F, etc.)

If you prefer, you can write to us within 15 days of receiving the letter and include copies of the requested information. Mail your information to the address shown on your letter.

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

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 letter, let us know immediately as you may be victim of identity theft.

Note: The Taxpayer Protection Program hotline 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 after I call the IRS?

Once we verify your identity and confirm you submitted the tax return, we'll continue processing your return. It may take up to 9 weeks to process.

What else can I do to protect my identity?

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 (IP PIN).

Need Help?

  • See if you qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
  • If you can’t find what you need online, call the IRS number at the top of your notice or letter.