Career Development

Tax fraud scheme hits physicians

The latest victims of tax refund fraud include hundreds of physicians and other health care professionals, who received a rude revelation when filing their taxes this year.

While the exact number of physicians affected by the fraudsters’ scheme is uncertain, hundreds of cases have been confirmed in a number of states across the country, including Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

These victims were among thousands of Americans impacted by a surge in refund fraud this year, conducted by thieves filing false tax returns under stolen Social Security numbers so they could pocket the refunds. When the victims have attempted to file their legitimate tax returns, they have been rejected because the imposters already filed using the victims’ identity and collected funds based on the false returns.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Secret Service are leading an investigation of this year’s tax refund identity fraud, and the AMA is working with federal officials who are tasked with the investigation.

Physicians who are victims of this scam should have received a 5071C letter from the IRS with instructions for providing information via the IRS identity theft website. Physicians also can call the IRS at (800) 830-5084 to let agency officials know that they did not file the return referred to in the IRS’ letter. 

Those who are victims need to file a paper return if they have not done so already, attaching a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to explain what happened. These physicians also should attach copies of the 5071C letter and any other notices from the IRS on this issue. 

Physicians who did not receive a 5071C letter or already have received confirmation that their legitimate tax returns were accepted most likely are not victims of this year’s scam. 

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, at the AMA’s request U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) asked IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about tax ID fraud involving physicians. Koskinen noted all the IRS efforts to curb tax fraud.