New app allows you to get tax refunds quicker, report fraud

Officials tell WAAY 31 the app is highly secure and recognizes your face when you open it, so only you can access the app on your phone.

Posted: Jan. 29, 2018 2:54 PM
Updated: Jan. 29, 2018 5:43 PM

Just in time for tax season, there's a new, free app that helps you get your tax refunds back faster.

After a year-long pilot program, the Alabama Department of Revenue teamed up with identity security company IDEMIA and launched the Alabama eID app to protect taxpayers from income tax refund theft.

WAAY 31 found out exactly how the app works, and what people in our area think about it.

“We had to come to an IRS office and we had to present all kinds of information to them—birth certificate, house mortgage, all kinds of stuff—to prove who we were," said Huntsville resident Vicki Hoban.

Hoban says she has a hard time believing she can get her tax refund back quicker by simply using an app because she’s had to go through such an extensive process in the past.

And she's not the only one who's doubtful of the new approach.

“I understand we live in a world of technology and everything, but that’s really moving a bit too fast with a lot of your personal information," said Gregory Hearn.

Hearn says he doesn’t trust technology with his personal information, but he says he understands the appeal of convenience.

“Getting a refund faster, okay. Less work. You just simply take a picture and you’re done," Hearn said.

According to state officials, that’s the goal behind the app.

It's designed to quickly verify that it is you filing the return, allowing you to receive your tax refund faster.

And officials say the app is also useful for reporting any fraudulent activity.

But some think the app itself could be another way for fraud to occur.

“Fraud is rampant and I just think it’s another way for people to try and take your identity, try to steal your money," Hoban said.

But officials tell WAAY 31 the app is highly secure and recognizes your face when you open it, so only you can access the app on your phone.

All you have to do is take a picture of the front and back of your driver’s license, and then take a selfie.

The app then compares the two to confirm your identity.

“I’m going to download it and see what it’s about," Hoban said.

Officials tell WAAY 31, even if you don’t file your own taxes, you can still use the app.

It was developed and paid for by federal grant funds and is available for Apple and Android users.

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