HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Tax season is stressful enough without the added worry of identity theft. The Alabama Department of Revenue has launched a new phone app hoping to make the process both simpler and safer for Alabama taxpayers.
"We were looking for a way to protect our citizens from having a tax return filed in their name and fraudulent refunds issued. We just want to help them protect themselves," explained Brenda Coone, the deputy commissioner of the Alabama Department of Revenue.
Once downloaded, the Alabama eID app prompts you to verify your phone number with a link sent to your phone.
Next, a state ID or license is verified with a 'selfie'. During the 2017 beta testing, the Department of Revenue worked closely with IDEMIA, a global company whose mission is identity privacy.
"We really spent most of last tax season on 'liveness testing' to ensure that you can't fool the app, you have to be a live person to open the app and get the messages that are in the app," said Coone.
After the 'selfie' process is complete, the app will direct you to Alabamaeid.com to create your eID with a QR code found on the department of revenue website.
While the most important mission of the advanced technology is to protect the taxpayer, Coone says it can also help speed up the process."If we can reach the taxpayers through this application, we can reach them a lot faster and so that will help us authenticate their identity and therefore process their tax returns a lot quicker."
With cybercriminals targeting tax season, it seems it's time to fight tech with tech.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play. For more information and a list of compatible devices, you can visit the Alabama eID website.