FRANKFORT, Ky. – As part of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week the Department of Revenue (DOR) is joining other state and federal officials to remind Kentucky taxpayers to safeguard their social security numbers and other personal information.
“The Department continues to enhance its processes to identify fraudulent returns,” said Daniel Bork, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Revenue. “We also want to stress that taxpayers need to protect their personal information and actively monitor their credit reports, charge cards and bank accounts for any suspicious activity.”
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Taxpayers may be unaware that this has happened until they file their return and discover that a return already has been filed using their SSN. Or the taxpayer may receive a letter from DOR or the IRS saying a suspicious return has been filed using their SSN.
While income tax fraud and identity theft continue to pose a danger to filers, DOR has fraud detection measures in place and is strengthening security efforts in several new ways including a combination of both internal and external analysis to determine fraudulent activity. For the 2014 tax year, the department stopped more than $16.5 million in fraudulent refund requests.
The Department of Revenue will start processing state tax returns on Jan. 29. Last year nearly 85 percent of individuals filed taxes electronically. This is the fastest and most secure way for taxpayers to file their returns.
Know the warning signs
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by DOR or the IRS about:
• More than one tax return that was filed for you,
• You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, or
• IRS or DOR records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
For more information and resources related to identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov website.