Verifying Your Identity When Calling the IRS

by | Sep 20, 2021 | Featured Articles

Sometimes, taxpayers need to call the IRS about a tax matter. If this is the case, they should know that IRS phone assistors take great care to only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. As such, the IRS will ask taxpayers and tax professionals to verify their identity when they call.

As part of the IRS’s ongoing efforts to keep taxpayer data secure from identity thieves and to avoid having to call the IRS back, taxpayers should have the following information ready before calling the IRS:

  • Social Security numbers (SSN) and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one instead of an SSN
  • Their filing status: single, head of household, married filing joint, or married filing separate
  • The prior-year tax return. Phone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
  • A copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer

Taxpayer’s Legally Designated Representative

By law, IRS telephone assistors will only speak with the taxpayer or to the taxpayer’s legally designated representative. In other words, a taxpayer can grant a third party authorization to help them with federal tax matters. Depending on the authorization, the third-party can be a family member or friend, a tax professional, attorney, or business. The different types of third party authorizations include:

  • Power of Attorney – Allow someone to represent you in tax matters before the IRS. Your representative must be an individual authorized to practice before the IRS.
  • Tax Information Authorization – Appoint anyone to review and/or receive your confidential tax information for the type of tax and years/periods you determine.
  • Third Party Designee – Designate a person on your tax form to discuss that specific tax return and year with the IRS.
  • Oral Disclosure – Authorize the IRS to disclose your tax information to a person you bring into a phone conversation or meeting with us about a specific tax issue.

Taxpayers must still meet all of their tax obligations even when authorizing someone to represent them.

Taxpayers Calling on Behalf of Someone Else’s Account

If taxpayers or tax professionals are calling about someone else’s account, they should be prepared to verify their identities and provide information about the person they are representing. Before calling about a third-party, they should have the following information available:

  • Verbal or written authorization from the third-party to discuss the account
  • The ability to verify the taxpayer’s name, SSN or ITIN, tax period, and tax forms filed
  • Preparer Tax Identification Number or PIN if a third-party designee
  • One of these forms, which is current, completed and signed: Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns about verifying your identity before calling the IRS, don’t hesitate to contact the office for assistance.