Fraud victims not responsible for taxes on unemployment payouts

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Tax season is approaching and filers who fell victim to unemployment fraud are going to be asked to pay taxes on what was swindled from the government in their name.

The Illinois Department of Revenue sends a Form 1099-G to people who collect unemployment so they can pay taxes on what they’d received in the previous year. It’s a necessary evil for some but for taxpayers targeted by scammers, it’s another step in a long process of resolving a scam.

“The victims of identity theft whose names and information were used didn’t get any benefits but they may receive a 1099-G showing what they didn’t get,” IRS spokesman Michael Devine said.

The Illinois Department of Revenue released a notice on Jan. 29 saying 1099-G forms were available and gave instructions for identity theft victims.

“Receiving this form without having applied for or received unemployment benefits is an indication of identity theft and that a fraudulent claim was filed using the personally identifying information (PII) of an individual,” the department said.

Anyone who receives a 1099-G is to call IDOR at 800-244-6531 to report the error. The department said taxpayers wouldn’t be responsible for repaying any benefits or taxes tied to the fraudulent claim.

There’s no indication of how long the department would take to correct the matter and officials didn’t respond to questions on the matter Thursday.

Devine said taxpayers who aren’t getting a timely response from their state revenue department should file their federal returns with the correct amount of income indicated.

“If they do receive a letter or notice from the IRS about unreported income, then they can come back to the IRS and explain the situation,” Devine said.

IDES has stopped more than 962,000 fraudulent unemployment claims since March 1, 2020.

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