What Is Form 5071C?

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The 5071C form is issued by the Internal Service Revenue (IRS) when identity verification is required. Typically, the form is mailed to the taxpayer if the agency believes a submitted tax return may be fraudulent. The person listed on the tax return must confirm their identity using the form to enable the IRS to resume processing of the tax return.

Key Takeaways

  • The 5071C form is issued by the IRS for verification purposes to prevent identity theft.
  • The letter is sent out when a tax return is received with a person’s name and Social Security number and flagged for potential fraud.
  • Taxpayers who receive the letter can verify their identity online, over the phone, or in person.

How Form 5071C Works

The 5071C form helps the IRS prevent fraud by confirming one’s identity before processing a tax return. The IRS mails out the 5071C form to the person whose taxpayer identification number, typically a Social Security number, is specified in the return.

The purpose of issuing this letter is to confirm that the person named on the tax return is the same person who filed the return, in an effort to prevent identity theft.

If you receive the letter, you have 30 days to respond, although the IRS can still process this form after the 30-day mark. You have the option to verify online or by phone. You can also set up an appointment to verify in person with an IRS representative.

To verify online, visit the agency’s “Identity and Tax Return Verification Service” link on its website. You’ll first  need to register with an account to access the service. Keep your letter on hand, along with your photo ID, and follow the instructions on the site.

You can also opt to complete this form over the phone. Both methods may require you provide personal information to be verified, such as your date of birth, mailing address, and information pertaining to a previous tax return. To verity over the phone, keep the following documents handy:

  • 5071C letter
  • Current tax return being referenced (typically Form 1040)
  • Prior tax return form
  • Other documents, such as your W-2, that you filed with your tax return

Beware of imposters claiming to work for the IRS reaching out via phone and email. The IRS will first reach out through the mail for verification.


If you believe you have received a phone call from an IRS representative, you can call 800-829-4933, the customer service number for the IRS, to verify or ask for the representative. To report scams, call 800-366-4484 or email phishing@irs.gov.

Example of Form 5071C

The 5071C letter is issued directly by the IRS via mail. The form explains that a tax return was received by the IRS and verification is required to prevent fraud or identity theft. The link to the online verification service will be included, as well as the phone number. The form will specifically address both what actions to take if you filed the tax return and what actions to take if you didn’t file the return.

If you did not file the tax return mentioned in the letter, inform the IRS as instructed in the letter. Although not required by the form, you may also opt to complete the Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, or contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I do if I lose my 5071C letter?

If Form 5071C is lost, the taxpayer can contact the IRS to notify it about the form. The taxpayer can then request for the IRS to send out another form. Individuals can call 800-829-1040, and businesses can contact the IRS at 800-829-4933.

What happens if I don’t respond to a 5071C letter?

If you don’t respond to a 5071C letter, the IRS cannot process the tax return. The purpose of the form is to verify the identity of the taxpayer before processing the return. Essentially, your tax refund will be delayed until your identity is verified. You will not receive credits or refunds until you respond to the form and your identity is verified.

How long does it take to get a refund after 5071C?

Once the identity is verified with Form 5071C and there are no other issues, the tax return can be processed by the IRS. It may take up to nine weeks for the taxpayer to receive their tax refund after the verification process is completed.

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  1. IRS. “Understanding Your Letter 5071C or 6331C.”

  2. IRS. “Identity and Tax Return Verification Service.”

  3. IRS. “Suspicious Emails and Identity Theft.”

  4. USA.gov. “IRS Scams.”

  5. IRS. “Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers.”

  6. IRS. “Let Us Help You.”

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