The deadline for the filing of your 2012 federal income tax return is only four days past, but the deadline for income tax identity theft never comes. Identity theft, by which identity thieves use your Social Security number and name to file a phony income tax return in your name along with a forged 1099 or W-2 that provides them with a huge refund is a major problem costing the federal government billions of dollars and tying up the legitimate refunds for the victims of income tax identity theft for as long as a year. A key part of protecting yourself from income tax identity theft is protecting the privacy of your Social Security number which is the key to many forms of identity theft.
However, there is another thing you can do that can offer you some measure of protection from income tax identity theft. File an IRS Form 8821 with the IRS. This form is like a power of attorney in that it authorizes the IRS to send to a third party, such as your accountant or lawyer, any information regarding your income tax return. Traditionally, this form has been used when someone is being audited or is having health issues such that an accountant or lawyer is acting on behalf of the taxpayer with the IRS. However, you can use this form to help combat identity theft. Name yourself as the third party to receive information about your income tax return so that if there are any issues with the phony income tax return filed by the identity thief, you will be contacted. This can help serve as an early alert system if an identity thief has filed an income tax return on your behalf and the tax return has any issues that arouses IRS interest.