In An Attempt to Avoid Identity Theft, The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is Sending Out Additional Forms to Taxpayers and Tax Professionals

By: Tamara B. Pow, Esq.

Due to a dramatic increase in tax returns that appear to be related to possible identity thefts, the Franchise Tax Board “FTB” is sending out additional forms for taxpayers to fill out, in order to ensure that these refunds do not fall into the wrong hands and that all personal information, is correct. The increase in returns may have resulted from the higher volume of employer data breaches and breaches in the data of tax professionals as well, leading to these precautionary steps from the FTB.

The FTB is issuing forms FTB 3904, Request to Confirm Tax Return Filing. This form simply means that the FTB needs you to confirm if you filed a specific personal income tax return. These forms are sent out when the FTB highly suspects the likelihood of identity theft. The FTB recommends calling the phone number listed on the form immediately at (916) 845-7088, rather than sending or faxing your information, due to the time-sensitive nature and gravity of this issue. An employee at FTB may be able to ask certain questions over the phone in order to validate that the taxpayer filed the return so that the tax refund may be appropriately received. If an FTB employee is unable to verify the taxpayer over the phone, then the FTB may require the form to be filled out and sent back. However you should avoid sending this information by mail, due to the time lag in mail correspondence.

The FTB is also issuing forms FTB 4734D, Request for Tax Information and Documents. This form means that additional information is needed to approve your tax refund, as it serves to determine the taxpayer’s identity. If you or your client receives this form, you are advised to call the phone number listed on the form 916-845-7088. Do not call the practitioner hotline or the toll free number for either form 3904 or 4734D.