Helping taxpayers prevent identity theft and stopping refund fraud are top priorities for the Department of Revenue. To help combat the increased threat of both, the department has established a new Personal Income Tax Fraud Investigation Unit. Launched a few weeks ago, the unit works with taxpayers, practitioners and attorneys to help identity theft victims and looks for fraudulent returns to prevent tax dollars from going to a scammer.
As part of that effort, the department constantly shares and receives information from the Internal Revenue Service, tax administrators in other states and tax preparers about potential fraud. The information helps the department to update automated filters to identify potentially fraudulent returns and ask the taxpayer to verify their identity.
The department is also making the ID verification process more convenient for its customers. The department is in the process of transitioning away from asking taxpayers to verify their identity by phone to an online quiz on the department’s website.
Identity theft is a serious crime, and people whose identities are stolen can spend months or years repairing the mess thieves made of their names and credit records. Identity theft can result in lost job opportunities; denial of loans for things like housing, automobiles and education; and perhaps even misdirected criminal charges.
If you believe you may be a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent PA personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Fraud Investigation Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov for assistance.