As a result of increased IRS efforts to prevent tax return refund fraud, more Doeren Mayhew clients are being contacted by the IRS via letter to confirm their identity once a return has been filed. Read below for more on this issue and recommended steps if you receive a letter.


In an effort to protect your tax refund, the IRS announced early this year that it will continue to increase the number and efficiency of its measures that are used to identify potentially fraudulent returns. As a result, more taxpayers are being asked to authenticate their identity before a refund will be issued. If your return includes a trigger for a potentially fraudulent return, such as a large refund, you will receive a letter.

Authentication Process

To confirm that you filed the return in question, the IRS will send Letter 5071C with instructions on how to contact the IRS and verify your identity. You will be asked a series of questions that only you can answer, therefore, your CPA will not be able to complete the process for you. Once your identity is verified, you can confirm whether or not you filed the return. If you did not file the return, the IRS can take steps to assist you. If you did file the return, the IRS will continue processing it, and it will take approximately six to eight weeks to issue your refund.

Letter 5071C is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to the address on the return. It asks taxpayers to verify their identities in order for the IRS to complete processing of the returns if the taxpayers did file it or reject the returns if the taxpayers did not file it. Remember that the IRS does not request such information via email, nor will the IRS call a taxpayer directly to ask this information without you receiving a letter first.

What to Do and Expect if You Receive a Letter

Be sure to respond to the letter in a timely manner, as the IRS will not process your return until you have done so. As the IRS letter states, the fastest way to complete the authentication process is online; however, be sure to answer questions very carefully, as one wrong answer online can prevent you from verifying your identity. Should you be unable to complete the process online, there is also a phone number provided in the letter, but be aware that call hold times in excess of two hours have been reported by our clients.

Should you have additional questions about the authentication process, contact our CPAs in Michigan, Houston or Florida.