What is tax related identity theft?
According to the Internal Revenue Service, Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
You may be unaware this has happened until you file your return and discover a return already has been filed using your SSN. Or, the IRS/Illinois Department of Revenue may send you a letter saying we have identified a suspicious return using your SSN.
What is the Department doing to prevent identity theft and refund fraud?
The Illinois Department of Revenue has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federation of Tax Administrators, other state revenue agencies, industry partners, financial institutions and the preparer community in the fight against identity theft. These collaboration efforts have brought about a process to quickly recognize suspected Identity Theft returns.
Beginning in 2019, taxpayers meeting the possible identity theft criteria will be issued a letter requesting verification of their identity. The verification process is simple and can be completed on MyTax Illinois in minutes. This streamlined process should result in faster processing times and refunds being issued more quickly than in the past.
The Department has established an email account dedicated to identity theft. Should you, your business or your clients become a victim of identity theft, you may report it to us at
The Department is highly committed to identity theft protection and the continuation of our partnerships with the Internal Revenue Service, other state agencies and the Security Summit Working Groups to streamline and expedite our processes while protecting our taxpayers.
I received an Identity Verification letter, what do I do now?
If you receive an Identity Verification letter after you file your Illinois tax return, it does not mean your identity has been compromised. It is simply a check to make sure YOU filed the return with your information and it was not an unauthorized individual attempting to commit fraud. The process of responding is easy, just visit MyTax.Illinois.gov and follow the directions you received on the letter. This should take no longer than a few minutes and once completed, your return will process normally. It is advised you verify your identity as soon as you receive the letter. Failure to respond by the due date on the letter will result in your refund not being issued. For more information, see
Identity Verification Common Questions.
What if I receive a Return Correction Notice from the Illinois Department of Revenue and I have not filed a return or none of the numbers match the information on my return?
Respond to the notice with the information requested or indicating that you have not filed an Illinois income tax return. Provide a copy of your driver’s license and any other applicable information related to your specific circumstance.
Once we receive your response, we may follow up with a phone call. If we initiate a phone call to you, we will ask you to verify your identity using information that is already in our records.
Can I request a copy of a fraudulently filed return?
A victim of identity theft or a person authorized to obtain the identity theft victim's tax information may request a redacted copy (one with some information blacked-out) of a Fraudulent Illinois Individual Income Tax return that was filed and accepted by the Illinois Department of Revenue using the identity theft victim's name and Social Security number (SSN). For more information, see the
FAQs for requesting a copy of a fraudulently filed return and
How can I protect myself against identity theft?
You can help fight cybercriminals by following simple guidelines to protect your personal information and tax data online.
- Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use automatic updates. Encrypt your tax returns and other sensitive data. Use strong passwords.
- Beware of phishing emails. Are you expecting a message from your bank or tax software company to update your account? A link may take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your log-on information. The attachment you open may include a program that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files.
- Beware of phone scams. If you get a call from an aggressive or belligerent person who says you will be sued or jailed if you don't make an immediate payment, know this: that person is a fraud. Clever criminals pose as trusted organizations. IDOR will generally contact you by mail before you ever receive a phone call. And remember – if you need to make sure a call is legitimate, you can always just hang up and then dial us yourself.
- Protect your personal information. Treat your Social Security number, your driver's license number and other personal data as you would cash – don't leave it lying around. Don't over share on social media.
We encourage you to visit the IRS identity theft webpage for additional information about tax-related identity theft.
Click here for more helpful tips in protecting your identity.
What should I do if I have been notified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another source that my Social Security number has been compromised?
If you believe you are a victim of tax-related identity theft:
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a "fraud alert" on your credit records:
- Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 800-525-6285
- Experian, www.Experian.com, 888-397-3742
- TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 800-680-7289
- Contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.
- Submit the following information to the Illinois Department of Revenue:
- A copy of your driver’s license;
- Copies of the federal and Illinois Individual Income Tax returns you filed for this reporting period, if you already filed your returns;
Note: If you are not required to file in Illinois, you do not need to send us copies of your return.
- Federal Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit; and
- Any other information related to your specific circumstance.
- Please send the information above to:
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
ID THEFT/FRAUD UNIT
PO BOX 19049
SPRINGFIELD IL 62794-9049
If you have additional questions and would like to speak to a representative, please call 1 800 732-8866.
What resources are available to me if I have been a victim of identity theft related tax fraud?
We will assist you in resolving any impacts of the fraud on your Illinois Income Tax account. Additional resources include:
What is tax fraud and where can I find more information?
Tax fraud includes:
- Fraudulent filing or non-filing of state corporate income, personal income, or employer withholding tax returns.
- Fraudulent filing, non-filing, or other tax violations committed by persons engaged in retail sales, including
- the illegal sale of unstamped cigarettes, smuggling or hijacking cigarettes, counterfeiting tax stamps, or other attempts to circumvent the state cigarette tax; and
- the intentional circumvention of state motor fuel tax laws by persons in the trucking industry or by motor fuel distributors.
Click here for more information and instruction on how to report tax fraud.