Reporting misuse of minor child's social security number

Discussion in 'Tax' started by Jake29, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    A friend of mine is a single parent who has had sole custody of his minor
    child throughout all of 2013. He actually gained full custody of his minor
    child near the end of 2012 (in late November, 2012).

    Last year, he went to a tax preparer who prepared and filed his 2012 tax
    returns. He originally misunderstood how the custody and claiming of a
    minor dependent worked, and he told the tax preparer that he had full
    custody of his minor child. The tax preparer thought that he meant he had
    full custody for all of 2012, so she prepared his 2012 tax return as if that
    was correct. However, when she electronically filed the return to the IRS,
    it was immediately kicked back to her. She said that the IRS "error
    message" (or something like that) said that the social security number for
    my friend's minor child was already in use by another filer who had received
    a refund under that social security number. She said that the error message
    was not the one used when someone else had already claimed a minor child as
    a dependent, but that instead that social security number was used by
    another tax filer on his/her return.

    When that happened, my friend called me and since I was nearby, I went and
    met him and his tax preparer and explained to the tax preparer that my
    friend did not qualify to claim his minor child as a dependent for 2012.
    After understanding the true facts, she corrected his return and re-filed it
    electronically without the minor child being listed on the return as a
    dependent.

    Our guess is that someone else improperly/illegally used my friend's minor
    child's social security number to file a federal tax return for 2012
    (probably as an adult). My friend's child was 4 years old at the time and
    is now 5 years old.

    Today, my friend went in person to a local IRS office to report that his
    child's social security number was, and possibly still is, being illegally
    used by someone else to file federal tax returns. The IRS representative
    took down no information and said the ONLY thing he can do is file his 2013
    return when it is due, include his minor child's social security number on
    his return as a minor dependent, and deal with it with the IRS when he
    return gets rejected by the IRS.

    That makes no sense to me. He wants the IRS to begin looking into this and
    clearing it up before he files his 2013 tax return.

    Long story, but here is my question:

    Is there something else that my friend can do now to report this to the IRS
    even though the IRS rep with whom he met refused to do anything and did not
    even take down the information for a report? Is there an IRS form that he
    can file now, or is there someone in the IRS that he can report this to in
    writing to get them to investigate this now before he files his 2013 tax
    return?

    Thanks.
     
    Jake29, Dec 18, 2013
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Jake29

    D.F. Manno Guest

    The IRS has a "Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft" at:

    <http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft>

    The guide states: "For victims of identity theft who have previously
    been in contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution, please
    contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free, at
    1-800-908-4490." That unit operates Monday ­ Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
    your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

    You'll need to file Form 14039:

    <http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf>
     
    D.F. Manno, Dec 19, 2013
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Jake29

    Alan Guest

    There is no evidence that the child's SS# has been stolen. Who knows
    what the error message said. Who knows whether the preparer didn't
    misinterpret the error message. Maybe the error message itself was wrong.

    The taxpayer needs to file a return and claim his child as a dependent
    and see what happens. It is highly likely that the custodial parent
    claimed the child in 2012 and the error message related to that.
     
    Alan, Dec 19, 2013
    #3
  4. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Thanks. I'll pass the information on to my friend. My guess is that he
    will try calling the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit and try
    explaining the situation to them. Hopefully, that will help or get them to
    at least do a check on his minor child's SSN to see if it may be being
    miscued.

    After I posted this question yesterday, I did find that form on the IRS
    website (Form 14039). But, when I read the form and instructions carefully,
    it doesn't appear to actually provide a way for my friend to report that his
    minor child's SSN may have been stolen -- only a way to report that my
    friend's own SSN was stolen (which is not the case). But, maybe he can file
    the form anyway, and just write in his minor child's SSN and other
    information and see what happens.
     
    Jake29, Dec 19, 2013
    #4
  5. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Thanks. Yes, it's possible that the tax preparer misinterpreted the error
    message etc. However, I did speak with her personally when it happened
    because I thought the same thing -- that the custodial parent must have
    already claimed the minor child as her dependent. But, we went over it
    several times, and she was really clear that the error message that she
    received was not that. I think she said that the error message stated that
    another taxpayer had already filed a tax return using that number. And, she
    explained what the error message would have been if the minor child had
    already been claimed by someone else as a dependent. But, I get what you
    are saying, and maybe you are right about what actually happened here.

    Still, it seems to me that when my friend went to the IRS in person to
    report the problem, all they would have needed to do was ask him to wait, go
    in a back room and look up his tax return file and also do a check on his
    minor child's SSN, and then come back out and state whether or not there was
    any conflict that they can see in the system regarding his minor child's
    SSN. I know they wouldn't be able to reveal information to him about who
    the other party was if his minor child's SSN had been stolen or misused.
    However, to do no checking at all when a taxpayer personally reports a
    possible misuse or theft of his minor child's SSN seems inappropriate to me,
    but maybe that's just the way it is.

    Another responder here mentioned Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and I
    also found that form online after posting the original question. My reading
    of the form and instructions leaves me to think that it is not applicable
    for a parent to use this form to report possible "identity theft" of a minor
    child's SSN unless it interfered with the parent's filing of a tax return.
    Since my friend ended up not filing a tax return that included his minor
    child as a dependent, he can't claim that reason for filing Form 14039.
    There doesn't appear to be any option on the form for simply reporting that
    a minor child's SSN may have been stolen or misused, or an option for that
    anywhere else on the IRS website.

    I did read in the "Instructions for Submitting this Form" that said the same
    as what you wrote -- that he could try to electronically file his 2013
    return with his minor child listed as a dependent, and if he gets an error
    message back, then file a paper return and attach a copy of Form 14039 to
    his return.

    One other thing that we are doing is contacting all 3 credit reporting
    agencies to find out if anyone has used his minor child's SSN to create a
    credit file or obtain credit etc. One company (TransUnion) has a mechanism
    for doing that online, which we did yesterday. The other two (Experian and
    Equifax) require submission by mail, which we are doing today.
     
    Jake29, Dec 19, 2013
    #5
  6. Jake29

    D. Stussy Guest

    "Jake29" wrote in message A friend of mine is a single parent who has had sole custody of his minor
    child throughout all of 2013. He actually gained full custody of his minor
    child near the end of 2012 (in late November, 2012).

    Last year, he went to a tax preparer who prepared and filed his 2012 tax
    returns. He originally misunderstood how the custody and claiming of a
    minor dependent worked, and he told the tax preparer that he had full
    custody of his minor child. The tax preparer thought that he meant he had
    full custody for all of 2012, so she prepared his 2012 tax return as if that
    was correct. However, when she electronically filed the return to the IRS,
    it was immediately kicked back to her. She said that the IRS "error
    message" (or something like that) said that the social security number for
    my friend's minor child was already in use by another filer who had received
    a refund under that social security number. She said that the error message
    was not the one used when someone else had already claimed a minor child as
    a dependent, but that instead that social security number was used by
    another tax filer on his/her return.

    When that happened, my friend called me and since I was nearby, I went and
    met him and his tax preparer and explained to the tax preparer that my
    friend did not qualify to claim his minor child as a dependent for 2012.
    After understanding the true facts, she corrected his return and re-filed it
    electronically without the minor child being listed on the return as a
    dependent.

    Our guess is that someone else improperly/illegally used my friend's minor
    child's social security number to file a federal tax return for 2012
    (probably as an adult). My friend's child was 4 years old at the time and
    is now 5 years old.

    Today, my friend went in person to a local IRS office to report that his
    child's social security number was, and possibly still is, being illegally
    used by someone else to file federal tax returns. The IRS representative
    took down no information and said the ONLY thing he can do is file his 2013
    return when it is due, include his minor child's social security number on
    his return as a minor dependent, and deal with it with the IRS when he
    return gets rejected by the IRS.

    That makes no sense to me. He wants the IRS to begin looking into this and
    clearing it up before he files his 2013 tax return.

    Long story, but here is my question:

    Is there something else that my friend can do now to report this to the IRS
    even though the IRS rep with whom he met refused to do anything and did not
    even take down the information for a report? Is there an IRS form that he
    can file now, or is there someone in the IRS that he can report this to in
    writing to get them to investigate this now before he files his 2013 tax
    return?

    ======================
    The primary way to deal with this after an e-file rejection is to file on
    paper claiming the exemption for the child and wait for the AUDIT of the
    issue.

    Form 14039 might not apply -- as its possible that the other parent* may
    have claimed the child, and that would NOT be identity theft.
    * - Or whomever had custody prior to November 2012.

    If it is known that the other person has no right to claim the child and is
    NOT a relative (i.e. a party who could reasonably believe that he/she may
    have such a right), consider filing a Form 3949A with the IRS.
     
    D. Stussy, Dec 19, 2013
    #6
  7. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    That may turn out to be his only option with the IRS, but it sure seems
    stupid to me that when my friend went in person to the IRS that they
    couldn't just check his child's SSN in the system now and see if there is a
    problem. After all, if they looked at the documentation that he brought
    with him, they would have seen that the child is 5 years old. If they saw a
    tax return in their system for an adult who was using that SSN, they would
    know right away that there is a problem. If all they saw is that someone
    else had claimed the child as a dependent for 2012, they could have just
    told my friend that was the problem.
    According to the tax preparer, the error message was not one that indicated
    that someone else had already claimed the child as a dependent. According
    to her, the error message was that another person had filed a tax return
    suing that SSN as his/her tax ID. Unfortunately, neither of us actually saw
    or got a copy of the error message from the tax preparer, so I can't post
    what that was.
    I did look up Form 3949A and the instructions and found them here:
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3949a.pdf ,
    and here:
    http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/How-Do-You-Report-Suspected-Tax-Fraud-Activity? .

    But, my friend probably couldn't file that form because he would not be
    reporting any specific individual or business. All that he could provide is
    his minor child's SSN and state that he thinks someone else is using that
    SSN illegally.

    If his efforts to contact the IRS again do not work out, he may have to wait
    until he hears back from the credit bureaus regarding his minor child's SSN
    to see if anyone else has set up a credit file with that SSN. If that did
    happen, I guess he could go back in person to the IRS with that information
    and report an identity theft.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
    Jake29, Dec 20, 2013
    #7
  8. Jake29

    Mark Bole Guest

    On 2013/12/18 14:44, Jake29 wrote:
    [...]
    I'm pretty sure that such error messages never indicate whether a refund
    or balance due was involved.
     
    Mark Bole, Dec 20, 2013
    #8
  9. Jake29

    Bill Brown Guest

    Have you contacted the other parent and asked that person whether this
    child was claimed as a dependent on that other parent's 2012 return?
     
    Bill Brown, Dec 20, 2013
    #9
  10. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Thanks. I probably did not get that part of what the tax preparer said
    correct. The more that I think about it, I think the point that she was
    trying to make was that the error message indicated that someone filed an
    actual return using the child's SSN as the as the number for the primary
    taxpayer. And, she was talking about how people do that to be able to file
    a return and get a refund using a stolen minor child's SSN.

    Once my friend does get the final story on this, and what actually happened
    here (including results from his contact with the credit reporting
    agencies), I'll post back here what the final story turns out to be.
     
    Jake29, Dec 20, 2013
    #10
  11. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Unfortunately, the other parent, who DID have legal custody of the minor
    child in 2012, has a lot of drug issues and other serious issues going on in
    her life. Getting a straight answer or the truth from her is a problem.
    She told my friend that she doesn't know because her drug-involved boyfriend
    did her taxes for her. There's even more to it than that, but the other
    issues are too complicated to try to describe here. If she had claimed the
    minor child as her dependent for 2012, that would be fine with my friend.

    But, my friend's tax preparer was adamant about the fact that the error
    message that she got back when she first tried to electronically file my
    friend's 2012 taxes was definitely not related to someone else having
    claimed my friend's minor child as a dependent. That's why we think there
    is a problem. In doing Internet searches, I have read a lot about druggies
    and others selling minor children's SSN's for drug money so the buyer could
    use the SSN to give to an employer if the person didn't have one of his/her
    own.

    In the end, there may be a simple answer to this, or there may be a more
    sinister problem going on regarding the minor child's SSN. When the actual
    answer is finally known, I'll post it here.
     
    Jake29, Dec 21, 2013
    #11
  12. Jake29

    Mark Bole Guest

    The efile reject codes are available at the IRS web site. The previous
    tax preparer may well have not correctly interpreted the code. I've
    also seen where once there is one reject code, subsequent codes can
    sometimes be meaningless, they will clear up automatically once the real
    initial error is cleaned up.

    Check this link or search "Common Error Reject Codes (ERCs)" at the IRS
    web site, I'm guessing either code 507 or 510 is the one that applies.

    http://www.irs.gov/uac/Common-Error...-Individual-Tax-Returns-&-Suggested-Solutions
     
    Mark Bole, Dec 22, 2013
    #12
  13. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Thanks Mark, and thanks again to all others who replied and offered help and
    suggestions. I just checked out that link and I saved it for later use.

    The overall consensus seems to be that the likely problem is that the minor
    child was already claimed as a dependent on another return (most likely the
    child's mother in this case) and/or that the tax preparer misinterpreted the
    error code that was received on the 2012 return.

    It is beginning to look more like the consensus opinion on this is going to
    turn out to be correct. My friend got an email reply back from TransUnion
    yesterday stating that they do not maintain credit files for minors and
    (more importantly) that their investigation showed that they have no other
    credit files in their system with the identifying information that was
    submitted for his minor child -- which included the child's SSN. Of the big
    3 credit reporting agencies, TransUnion is the only one that allows an
    initial inquiry to be submitted online. That is why he received quick
    feedback from them. The other two credit reporting agencies require
    submission of all of the documentation by mail, so it will take longer to
    get a reply back from them.

    The next step is for my friend to go back to his tax preparer and see if she
    can provide the exact error code (by number) that she received back from the
    IRS when she originally tried to electronically file his 2012 tax return.
    If she has that, I'll post it here as a follow-up. And, I'll post any other
    follow-up information that is received as it comes in.

    Also, my friend will be sure to tell the child's mother now that he will be
    claiming the child as his dependent on his 2013 tax return since he has had
    full custody and provided 100% of the support of his minor child for all of
    2013. So, he can let her know not to claim the child as her dependent for
    2013 to prevent her return (and his) from having a problem.
     
    Jake29, Dec 22, 2013
    #13
  14. Jake29

    Jake29 Guest

    Jake29 wrote:

    Here's the follow-up: NOTE: The original question was about finding out if
    someone had misused the social security number of the 5 y.o. son of a friend
    of mine. It came up when he tried to file his 2012 tax returns using a tax
    preparer -- who said that the return was rejected due to someone else having
    already used that child's number to get a refund in that child's name.

    I later wrote,
    Bottom line: My friend's 2013 tax returns went through with no problem with
    his 5 y.o. child listed as his dependent. The tax preparer said she could
    not locate the error code from the prior year 2012 return. She probably
    misinterpreted what the 2012 error code meant. Apparently, no one misused
    the child's social security number as was originally suspected.
     
    Jake29, Mar 22, 2014
    #14
  15. Jake29

    Laurence

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    need some help regarding child custody
     
    Laurence, Jan 20, 2016
    #15
  16. Jake29

    Ashley K. Knowlton MBA

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Laurence - what state? Laws vary by state and also by what is actually in your divorce decree (if there is one)
     
    Ashley K. Knowlton MBA, Mar 7, 2016
    #16
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.