Dear Tax Talk,
All my personal information was stolen recently, and I am worried that thieves will use this information to file a fraudulent tax return. If I send the IRS a completed Identity Theft Affidavit, will this delay my tax refund? Thank you!
— Catherine

Dear Catherine,
Completing IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, should not cause a delay in your tax refund. By completing the ID theft affidavit, you are advising the IRS that your information has been stolen and someone may attempt to file a tax return using your information. The IRS will send you an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN, which helps to prevent someone from misusing your Social Security number on fraudulent returns.

Realistically speaking, this is not to say that there may not be a delay in your refund, especially if someone else has already filed a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number.

The IRS is taking extensive measures to prevent and detect identity theft on tax-related matters. It is committed to assisting you in resolving your situation if you become the victim of identity theft.

Unfortunately, identity theft has become more and more prevalent. Be careful with your personal information and do not give out your Social Security number to anyone unless absolutely necessary. Please note: The IRS does not contact taxpayers by phone or email to request information. It will contact you by mail, so please be sure to respond to any IRS notices you receive or call the number on the notice.

In the meantime, plan on filing your taxes as soon as possible, even if you have not yet been assigned an IP PIN, and take the steps outlined below.

What to do if you're an identity theft victim | Robber & Victim vector: © villagemoon/; Thumbprint: ©

The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at, or call the FTC hotline at 1 (877) 438-4338. The three major credit card bureaus can be reached at, and

Thanks for your question and all the best to you in resolving this matter.

Ask the adviser

To ask a question on Tax Talk, go to the “Ask the Experts” page and select “Taxes” as the topic. Read more Tax Talk columns.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek professional advice based on their particular circumstances.

Bankrate’s content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate’s Terms of Use.