IRS Letter 5071C Really Is From IRS

During the last month your BBB® has received many phone calls from consumers who got a letter from the IRS with the letter number LTR 5071C. Since the letter asks consumers to give personally identifiable information (PII), they want to make sure the letter is not a scam. We investigated the situation and found that the letter is definitely from the IRS and until consumers follow through with the directions in the letter, the IRS won’t process their tax return. Here is what the letter looks like with any identifying information removed: 

IRS 5071C p1 Information Only

IRS 5071C p2 Information Only











According to the IRS News Release, the IRS is sending out the letters in an effort to protect consumers from tax related identity theft. They send out a letter when they receive tax returns “that have indications of being identity theft but contain a real taxpayer’s name and/or Social Security number.”

Taxpayers have two options for verifying their identity. They may go to the special Identity Verification Service website or they may call the phone number given in the letter. They should gather the following information before making the call or visiting the website: name as it appears on your tax return, date of birth, contact information, Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number, copy of 2013 and 2014 tax return including Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and supporting documents. The Service is an independent, secure identity assistance service that uses non-governmental information (e.g. information contained in a credit report) to create questions that only the taxpayer is likely to know. The answers given by the taxpayer are checked against the Service’s records to verify that the tax return is legitimate. Once the taxpayer’s tax return is verified, it will take the IRS six weeks to process it.

The IRS warns taxpayers that the first contact will be the 5071C letter sent by U.S. Postal Service. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information. They will also not call a taxpayer directly to ask for identifying information without sending a letter first.

For more information about the IRS Identity Verification Letter, visit For more information about tax identity theft, visit

About Jackie 246 Articles
Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.

1 Comment

  1. This is the stupidest thing.

    We had to do this last year for a 9 year old, we did not get the refund back until September. And we got the letter again this year. You cant verify a minor by either of these methods, since it relies on 3rd party verification from a credit reporting agency, and credit history does not start until age 18.

    We tired the website, it failed, we spend an hour on the phone, they couldnt do it. We had to make an appointment at an irs office to bring in report cards and a school id.

    Its all a scam from the irs to hold your money, there is no laws about them paying back your refund in any type of timely manner. You pay send your return 1 day late though and it’s a fine. Look on facebook or the turbotax forms, there for tons of people who have this same problem every single year. They are being targeted even though they successfully verify the information each time.

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