State’s ‘tax app’ gets some upgrades for second season

Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 at 5:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Last tax season was the first for the Alabama Department of Revenue’s eID app. The app allows taxpayers in the state to file their state taxes on their devices securely by taking a selfie to help the department confirm their identity.

“It’s a wonderful app,” Frank Miles, with the Alabama Department of Revenue, said. “It helps protect your identity. If someone sends in a tax return with your information on it, and you didn’t do it, the app allows you to say that you want us to stop processing it. We will do that immediately if you verify through the app that it’s not yours.”

Miles, who said the app is one of the many tools the department uses to ensure secure tax filing, said the department would like to see more residents using the app to file their state taxes.

“Close to 800 returns have been verified through the use of the app since its been launched," Miles said.

After receiving feedback from its first tax season, the department made some technology and security enhancements to the app to make it more helpful and efficient for taxpayers. Miles said the biggest difference this year is that more people will be able to use it.

“It was pretty limited when it first came out last year,” Miles said. “Just about any smartphone now can operate the app.”

The app’s technology was also upgraded to make it so users will have to take a live selfie as they’re using the app to file.

“The app is designed so that someone cannot use a photo to trick it,” Miles said. “It detects whether or not a live person is looking at it rather than a photo. They’ve enhanced that process, so it’s better this year.”

Another benefit of using the app, according to Miles, is that it allows for taxpayers to get their refunds faster.

“The eID verified tax returns that didn’t have compliance issues with them, that were supposed to get refunds, got those refunds in about 16 days,” Miles said. “The returns that didn’t get verified in the app, took about 30 days.”

You can download the app by searching “IDEMIA eID” in the app store or Google Play.

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