Selfie System Part of AL Tax Fraud Prevention

Mobile, AL  —  WKRG

Tax fraud can cost taxpayers thousands a year. The Alabama Department of Revenue is readying a new program to try and combat tax fraud. The department will soon ask people to download and register a mobile app for iOS or Android. Once registered, the Department of Revenue will send you an automated message once they receive your return during tax season. Then you’ll be asked to take a selfie to verify your identity.
“When we get your tax return we’ll notify you through that app we got your tax return and using a selfie we will release your return so that way we’ll know you filed your return you’re authorizing us to go ahead and work on it, we’ll push it through the system and you’ll get moved to the top of the line,” said Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee. Identity theft can be easy to accomplish if you are a criminal.

“If you’ve ever been a victim of Identity theft there’s nothing in place today before this program that will prevent a criminal from using your information to file a return this is the first tool we’ve had to give to taxpayers to say, hey, you’re in charge of your information, you’re in control when your information is returned,” said Magee. The selfie you take would be matched with your driver’s license photo ALEA already has on file to verify your identity. The program is voluntary and the biggest challenge might be getting people to sign up.

“And I know it’s a little big brother and people with a selfie that seems kind of new age-y for a government to do but this empowers people, especially people who’ve had their identities stolen before, to kind of take control of it back,” Said Magee. The mobile app is so new it doesn’t have a name yet. Magee joked that all the good names are taken. The program may start in October or November and there will be similar pilot programs in North Carolina and Georgia.

Julie Magee, Alabama Revenue Commissioner

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