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The IRS and Caller Identification

When calling the IRS about a personal tax account, be prepared to validate your identity. Having the right information handy will be helpful in avoiding repeat calls to the IRS, and help make the process shorter. When calling, be prepared to provide Social Security numbers and birthdates for all persons listed on your tax return. If you, or someone listed on your tax return, does not have a Social Security number, you will be asked to provide an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Further, you will need to provide your filing status (single, head of household, married filing jointly or married filing separate), a copy of the tax return in question, and any letters or notices you have received from the IRS.

If you have received a 4883C letter, which occurs when the IRS has identified a suspicious return, you should be prepared to have further information on hand to expedite the process. To further validate your identity, you will be required to have the IRS letter that you received, a copy of your prior year's tax return (if filed), your current year's tax return (if filed), and any supporting documents for each year's return (such as W-2s, 1099s, Schedule C, Schedule F, etc.).

When calling on behalf of someone else's account, it is important to know that the IRS call center assistants will only speak with the taxpayer or their legally designated representative. If you are planning on calling regarding someone else's account you must have verbal or written authorization to discuss the other person's account, the ability to verify the taxpayer's name, Social Security number or ITIN, and the tax period. If the caller is a third-party designee, a PTIN or PIN must additionally be provided. Lastly, you must have a current, completed, and signed Form 8821 (Tax Information Authorization) or a completed and signed Form 2848 (Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative).

For information about deceased taxpayers, be prepared to fax to the IRS the deceased taxpayer's death certificate, and either copies of the Letter of Representation approved by the court, or IRS Form 56.

For any questions about the status of a refund, the "Where's My Refund?" tool, which is located on the IRS website, will help you track the status of your return without having to call the IRS.

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