Ohio issues identity theft warning as 1099-G tax forms show up; tax expert says ‘don’t panic’

If you received unemployment in 2020 you will be receiving a 1099-G tax form in the mail sometime this month, which is used to file your tax returns.

The state said it will be issuing a record 1.7 million 1099-G forms to Ohioans for unemployment payments received last year.

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The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said “there will be a number of Ohioans who receive a 1099-G form in the mail stating that they received unemployment benefits in 2020 when, in fact, they did not.”

ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall said the state was able to isolate about 166,000 1099-G forms before sending them out as fraudulent cases.

But, it’s unclear how many more people will get 1099-G forms that did not receive unemployment benefits. ODJFS expects to have a better sense in the next few weeks about how many victims there were, but Hall says it could be in the “several hundreds of thousands.”

Those who get a 1099-G that shouldn’t should take this as an indication they were likely a victim of fraud.

The state has created an online portal at unemployment.ohio.gov for Ohioans to notify the agency if they believe their identity was stolen or used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim. You can click on the “Report Identity Theft” button to complete the reporting form.

“ODJFS will issue confirmation emails to everyone who files a report with information about identity theft and protection. The agency will process the reports, conduct investigations and, if necessary, issue corrections to the Internal Revenue Service,” ODJFS said in a statement.

A local tax expert said you shouldn’t hold up with filing your taxes if you get one of these forms from the state, when you shouldn’t have.

“They don’t need to claim the income on the return this year, they don’t need to wait to file. The IRS and the Ohio Job and Family Services are aware that this is an issue for a lot of people this year,” said Teresa Alley, an enrolled tax agent in Piqua. “It’s a hard thing to tell people, don’t panic, this is happening to a lot of people, it’s nothing anyone did wrong.”

If anyone suspects they are the victim of identity theft they can visit annualcreditreport.com or ohioattorneygeneral.gov/identitytheft for educational resources.