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Alabama Conducts Trials On Tax Filing By Way Of Selfies

Alabama Conducts Trials On Tax Filing By Way Of Selfies


Yup, you read that headline right. The department of revenue in the state of Alabama is actually exploring the idea of having its residents take full advantage of an electronic ID (eID) system that allows them to send their taxes by digital means. In exchange for using the facial recognition mobile app in order to authenticate their identities, users who are willing to participate in the testing will get to enjoy priority processing and expedited returns. 

The said eID system is developed by MorphoTrust, which has officially struck a partnership with the Yellowhammer State. What makes the eID system so cool is that it is rendered in mobile app form, although it should be noted that for now, it is only made available for Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. 

So how exactly does the whole thing work? Well, each time a mobile user wants to unlock the eID, they will first have to scan their physical and actual driver’s license or any ID issued by the state of Alabama, and then make full use of their smartphone devices to scan their own face. Once the scanned data is in, it will then be cross referenced with what is currently recorded in state databases. It is important for all the information to match, as well as the scanned images, in order for the eID to be validated. Once that is done, the user can then proceed on to the proper tax filing process.

Simply put, it is just like taking a panorama selfie shot in order to unlock the digital ID verification process. Officials in Alabama are confident that this method is as safe as filing one’s taxes personally with the use of a certified ID. Of course, the underlying objective of the government here is to minimize tax fraud. After all, tax fraud costs the government more than $400 billion each year, and the problem seems to be growing. 

This is where the eID system plays a role. Apart from speeding up some steps of the process, it also helps give assurance to taxpayers that, yup, it is safe for them to pay their taxes by way of digital methods. As indicated in the official eID website of the state of Alabama, the plan is to retain the eID system at least until 2018, and then possibly allow citizens to make use of their eID for other ID verification processes, such as going online to apply for benefits.