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How do I Prove my Identity to the IRS?

You’ve just filed your tax return and are waiting for your refund check. Instead you get a letter asking you to verify your identity.

Your first thought might be – am I in trouble? No, relax. It’s a very common letter. It’s typically sent when there’s a sizable tax refund and the IRS just wants to be sure the refund doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

How do you verify that you are – you?

First, gather your supporting documents

You’ll need to gather the following:

  • A copy of the 5071C Letter (the one that looks like the letter at the bottom of this page).
  • A copy of the tax return for the tax period shown in your letter.
  • A previous year’s income tax return, other than the year in the letter.
  • Supporting documents that you filed with each year’s tax return. (Form W-2, Form 1099, Schedule C of F, etc.)

Second, verify your identification

There are three ways to verify your identity.

1. Online ID verification

To use IRS’ online ID verification, head over to the identity verification service.

2. By phone

Call the phone number listed in the letter.

3. Visit your local IRS office

If the IRS can’t verify your identity over the phone or online, they may ask you to schedule an appointment at your local IRS office to verify your identity in person.

Third, wait for your return to process

After you’ve successfully verified your identification, the IRS will continue processing your return. It will take approximately nine weeks to process.

Sample Letter 5071C

Here’s what a Letter 5071 C looks like.

IRS Letter 5071C

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