I continue to read alerts from the IRS and professional tax preparer publications that identity theft of tax returns is a big problem and growing exponentially. What happens is that a thief will steal names and SSNs, along with other public information on individuals, prepare a fraudulent tax return with a large refund amount, and file it very early in the season. When the taxpayer later files their return, it is rejected on the basis that it has already been processed!
The IRS is attempting to fight this problem by issuing special tax ID numbers to folks whose identities they think may be compromised. The IRS is also attempting to provide relief to victims, but the process, as you will not be surprised to learn, is very slow. If you are interested to read more about the problem, and how to protect yourself, click on the link below: