Taxes & Security Together

What to do if you received an Identity Verification Letter

If you received an identity verification letter, your return has been flagged for verification.
Flagged returns must be verified before we can finish processing your refund.
You don't need to complete this process if you did not receive an identity verification letter.


What You Will Need

Before you begin the process of verifying your return, please have the following information available:

• Your Tax Verification Code - This code is included with the identity verification letter the department sent you

• Your Last Name

• The amount of refund requested on your Montana individual income tax return

How to Verify Your Return

1. Go to the Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point

2. Click on the "Verify Return" link and follow the onscreen directions to verify that you or your preparer filed your return, or to report the filing as fraudulent


Once you complete these steps, we will issue your refund. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope you understand that these extra steps are part of our continuing efforts to protect our taxpayers.

If you have any questions, please contact Department of Revenue Customer Assistance:

 DORCustomerAssistance@mt.gov
Toll Free: 1 (866) 859-2254.
Helena: (406) 444-6900


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I have to complete this process?

We want to prevent someone else from stealing your identity and tax refund by filing a false tax return in your name. This is one more measure we use to keep your information safe.

Q. How was I chosen?

Our system flags returns with factors indicating the possibility of identity fraud. When this happens, we require the taxpayer to prove their identity before processing the refund.

Q. How does the process work?

If your return is flagged, you will get an Identity Verification letter asking you to complete the online verification process. You will need to tell us if you or your tax preparer filed the return in question.


If you or your tax preparer filed the return you will need to input the information from the letter, and the amount of the refund you requested as shown on your current year Montana return (Form 2, line 74; Form2EZ, line 21; Form 2EC, line 13).


If successful, we will process your refund. If any item entered does not match our records, the verification will fail. You must then mail us documents proving your identity as explained later. Refunds will not be issued until your identity is verified.

Q. Can I complete the process if I didn’t get a letter?

No. Only those taxpayers who receive a letter can complete the process.

Q. Can someone else complete the process for me?

No. Only you, or your authorized third party, can complete this process. We strongly encourage you to find a way to complete your verification online. However, if you are unable to complete your verification using the internet, you can mail us documentation to verify your identity explained later.

Q. What information will I need to complete the online process?

You will need:

• Identity Verification letter

• Current year’s filed tax return

Follow the link in your letter, and our website will give you the process instructions.

Q. What if I can’t successfully complete the process?

You must mail us documents to prove your identity if the verification process is unsuccessful. We will process your return after we receive your documentation.

Q. What documentation will I need to provide?

You must mail the Identity Protection letter and two documents, one from each category. Please mail copies; not original documents.

Category 1:

A document copy that has your photograph and full name, such as:

• Montana driver's license (current or expired less than one year)

• Driver's license from any other state (current)

• State identification card

• Passport

• Military identification

• Government issued photo identification

Category 2:

A document copy less than 3 months old with your full name and complete address matching those on your currently filed return, such as:

• Utility bill (gas, electric, cable, cell phone, etc.)

• Bank statement

• Payroll stub

• Tax bill

• Rental agreement (signed by landlord and renter)

• College or university transcript

• Insurance policy (vehicle, homeowners, renters, health, life)

• Credit card statement

Q. Where do I send the documentation?

Send in your identity verification letter and copies of your documents to us using the information below:

Mail to:

Montana Department of Revenue

Attn: Verification Letter

P.O. Box 7149

Helena, MT 59604-7149

Fax to:

Attn: Verification Letter

(406) 444-4091

Electronic File Transfer:

Our secure file transfer service, ePass Montana, is available on our website at http://revenue.mt.gov.

We will not accept documents sent via email. Please do not send original documents since they will not be returned.

 Identity Protection

Taxes & Security Together

Identity Protection

What To Do If You Are The Victim of Identity Theft



Contact the IRS

If a fraudulent state return has been filed using your information, it is probable that one has been filed at the federal level as well. Please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1 (800) 908-4490, or you may complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039. Follow the directions on the back of the form to submit the form to the IRS.

File a Police Report

File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.

Review Your Credit Report

The law requires that major nationwide consumer reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - give you a free copy of your credit report each year.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.Com

Place a Fraud Alert

You can place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus:

 

Report to the Federal Trade Commission

Online at FTC.gov/IDTheft

By phone: 1 (877)ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338


For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission's identity theft webpage at IdentityTheft.gov.

Contact Your Financial Institutions

Reach out to your bank and other financial institutions such as credit card companies.

Ask if any of your accounts have been tampered with. For example, check to see if your address was changed or if new accounts have been created in your name.


IRS Identity Theft Resources


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Taxes & Security Together

Reporting Suspected Fraud

We need your help to stop Tax Fraud


The Montana Department of Revenue is committed to the fair administration of the tax laws of this state. This means taxpayers should pay no more and no less than they owe the state of Montana. We recognize that most taxpayers are honest and seek to pay their fair share for the services they receive from the state. Unfortunately, we know there are individuals and businesses that evade paying taxes that they owe. This is fraud and it is illegal. We need you to help us find and stop this activity.

Form STFIR - Contact us anonymously by completing this information referral form.


How Do I Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity?

 

• Call us:
Toll Free: 1 (866) 859-2254
Helena: (406) 444-6900
This call is confidential.  

• Fax your complaint to us at (406) 444-6642

• Contact us anonymously by completing Form STFIR Information Referral

• Write us at:

Montana Department of Revenue
Attention: Compliance Unit
PO Box 7149
Helena, MT 59604-7149

• OR visit us at:

125 N. Roberts, 3rd Floor
Helena, MT 59601

Note: Suspected cases of federal tax fraud should be reported to federal authorities.

What Information Should I Provide?

Please provide a description, with as specific details as possible, of the activities that you believe are fraudulent. This could include:

• The name and address of the person or business

• Individual/business address and phone number

• Marital status

• Spouse's name

• Alleged tax violation

• The date or time period of the potential fraud

• How you became aware of the alleged violation

• Asset information (vehicles, property, etc.)

• Copies of any documents relating to the activities you are reporting (this will be extremely helpful to the department in reviewing your complaint)

• Your contact information (optional)

Use Form STFIR Information Referral for providing the information listed above.


Examples of Tax Fraud

• Intentionally failing to file individual income tax returns.

• A self-employed individual intentionally failing to report all income received.

• Filing an individual income tax return and deliberately understating the amount of income that was earned during the tax year.

• Overstating the number of children or other dependents on an individual income tax return.

• Filing an individual income tax return claiming to be a resident of another state while residing in Montana.

• Making false or fraudulent claims for refunds.

• Failing to maintain records that show the true income and expenses of a business.

• Preparing documents, books, and records that intentionally understate the true income or overstate the expenses of a business.

• Operating a business without registering with the Montana Secretary of State or Department of Revenue.

• Payment of cash wages to employees for the purpose of avoiding Montana withholding tax.

• Opening and closing of new businesses to evade taxes.

• Operating a business using someone else’s name to avoid business and income taxes.


Difference Between Avoidance and Evasion

Tax Avoidance (Legal)

• Involves legal tax planning to minimize one’s tax liability.

• Reduces, avoids, or minimizes taxes by changing the nature of a transaction to comply with a tax exemption or exclusion. (Details of the transaction are disclosed.)

• Does not conceal or misrepresent.

• Shapes and preplans events to reduce or eliminate tax liability by taking advantage of favorable tax laws.

• Prepares documents showing the details of the transactions and reports the transactions.

Tax Evasion (Illegal)

• Involves deceit and deception, hiding the true nature or misrepresenting the facts to take advantage of a tax exemption or exclusion that doesn’t actually apply.

• Intentional concealment and misrepresentation.

• Structures events and transactions to hide the true nature of the transactions.

• Fails to prepare, conceals, alters, or destroys the documents that show the true details of the transactions.


How Does Tax Fraud Affect the Taxpayer?

When dishonest people fail to pay their fair share of taxes, it has a negative impact on businesses, consumers, and on the performance of vital state services. Tax fraud often leads to higher prices, possible tax increases, inadequately funded school systems, poor roads, bridges and infrastructure, and a reduction in other government supported programs. The burden of covering these shortages falls on honest taxpayers and the public in general.

What the Department of Revenue Will Do When the Information is Received

We will review the information you provide along with our records for the person or business in question. Any additional steps will be determined by the outcome of this review. We may contact you if additional information is needed for our investigation.

We cannot reveal any taxpayer’s information because of confidentiality laws, so we cannot tell you what steps were taken in reviewing the information you provided. We sincerely appreciate any information or tips that uncover tax fraud. We will also take every precaution within our control to protect the identity of anyone who provides information regarding potential tax fraud or underreporting of taxes.

We may also share information that is provided with the Internal Revenue Service.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why Should I File a Suspected Tax Fraud Complaint?

Tax fraud hurts all of us. Tax fraud decreases the revenue available to fund essential state and local services. These services include funds for police and fire departments, highway improvements, libraries, schools, parks, hospitals, courts and more. Plus, fraud hurts the honest business owner.

Q. Is there a monetary reward for reporting suspected tax fraud?

No, there is no provision in Montana law or administrative rules that allows for a reward to be paid for reporting tax fraud.

However, although there is no monetary reward available for this specific purpose, the individuals who supply the information can receive a great deal of satisfaction knowing that they did their part in ensuring that all taxpayers in Montana pay their fair share of taxes and knowing that those who don’t pay will be held accountable.

Q. Will I be Updated on the Status of my Complaint?

No. Because of confidentiality requirements, we cannot divulge to you the results of any pending investigation at any time. But please understand, we investigate every tip or report we receive.

Q. Can I report suspected tax fraud and remain anonymous?

Yes. If you wish to remain anonymous you should not give us your name or identifying information during the interview or when sending information. We will investigate all complaints, whether anonymous or not. We treat any information you provide as confidential unless compelled by law to do otherwise.


 

Taxes & Security Together

Identity Theft and Fraud Prevention News Alerts

Press Releases and News Events related to the department's efforts against fraud and identity theft.


MT Department of Revenue warns companies of identity phishing scheme involving W-2s

The Montana Department of Revenue is joining the Internal Revenue Service alerting businesses to a phishing email scheme that targets payroll and human resources professionals. The scheme involves an email that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.

Friday, March 18, 2016/Author: Molly Petersen/Number of views (1867)/Comments (0)/

Montana Department of Revenue joins IRS awareness campaign against identity theft & tax fraud

The Montana Department of Revenue supports the Internal Revenue Service and other states and associations in appealing to the public to take online security precautions. Several agencies launched the public awareness campaign “Taxes, security, together” at news conference Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, November 19, 2015/Author: Mary Ann Dunwell/Number of views (2111)/Comments (0)/
Thursday, February 12, 2015/Author: Anonym/Number of views (2350)/Comments (0)/
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Friday, February 6, 2015/Author: Anonym/Number of views (3120)/Comments (0)/
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015/Author: Anonym/Number of views (2266)/Comments (0)/
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 Recent Scams

Taxes & Security Together

Scam Alerts

For a complete list of Consumer Scams in Montan, see the Office of Consumer Protection Consumer Alert and Scam Alerts.


IRS Warns of Back-to-School Scams

PHOENIX - - The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers against telephone scammers targeting students and parents during the back-to-school season and demanding payments for non-existent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”

People should be on the lookout for IRS impersonators calling students and demanding that they wire money immediately to pay a fake “federal student tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested. As schools around the nation prepare to re-open, it is important for taxpayers to be particularly aware of this scheme going after students and parents.

“Although variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round, they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “As students and parents enter the new school year, they should remain alert to bogus calls, including those demanding fake tax payments from students.”

The IRS encourages college and school communities to share this information so that students, parents and their families are aware of these scams.

Scammers are constantly identifying new tactics to carry out their crimes in new and unsuspecting ways. This year, the IRS has seen scammers use a variety of schemes to fool taxpayers into paying money or giving up personal information. Some of these include:

• Altering the caller ID on incoming phone calls in a “spoofing” attempt to make it seem like the IRS, the local police or another agency is calling

• Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals--IR-2016-103

• Demanding fake tax payments using iTunes gift cards--IR-2016-99

• Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals--IR-2016-34

• “Verifying” tax return information over the phone--IR-2016-40

• Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry--IR-2016-28

If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the telltale signs to help protect yourself.

The IRS Will Never:

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.

• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

• Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.

• Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.

• Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.

• Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

• If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.


New Phishing Scheme Mimics Software Providers; Targets Tax Professionals

IR-2016-103, August 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today alerted tax professionals to an emerging phishing email scam that pretends to be from tax software providers and tries to trick recipients into clicking on a bogus link.

The email scheme is the latest in a series of attempts by fraudsters to use the IRS or other tax issues as a cover to trick people into giving up sensitive information such as passwords, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers or to make unnecessary payments.

In the new scheme identified as part of the IRS Security Summit process, tax professionals are receiving emails pretending to be from tax software companies. The email scheme requests the recipient to download and install an important software update via a link included in the e-mail. 

Once a recipient clicks on the embedded link, they are directed to a website prompting them to download a file appearing to be an update of their software package.  The file has a naming convention that uses the actual name of their software followed by an “.exe extension.”

Upon completion, tax professionals believe they have downloaded a software update when in fact they have loaded a program designed to track the tax professional’s key strokes, which is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords, and other sensitive data. 

Although the IRS knows of only a handful of cases to date, tax professionals are encouraged to be on the lookout for these scams and never to click on unexpected links in emails. Similar email schemes using tax software names have targeted individual taxpayers.

The IRS recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness among tax professionals about security threats posed by identity theft issues targeting their industry. The Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself campaign features an ongoing effort to urge tax professionals to step up their security protections and be aware they increasingly are targets of cybercriminals.

The IRS urges all tax preparers to take the following steps:

•     Be alert for phishing scams: do not click on links or open attachments contained in e-mails and always utilize a software provider’s main webpage for connecting to them.

•     Run a security “deep scan” to search for viruses and malware;

•     Strengthen passwords for both computer access and software access; make sure your password is a minimum of 8 digits long (more is better) with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters;

•     Educate all staff members about the dangers of phishing scams in the form of emails, texts and calls;

•    Review any software that your employees use to remotely access your network and/or your IT support vendor uses to remotely troubleshoot technical problems and support your systems. Remote access software is a potential target for bad actors to gain entry and take control of a machine.

Tax professionals should review Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, A Guide for Your Business, which provides a checklist to help safeguard taxpayer information and enhance office security.