Alabama tests filing taxes via selfie

Of course, you’re likely helping build a facial recognition database.


As tax day looms, Alabama citizens will get to live the dream and file using an app on their mobile device. The state's department of revenue is partnering with MorphoTrust to let taxpayers use the company's electronic ID (eID) system to digitally send in their taxes. In return for using the face-scanning app to prove their identity online, folks willing to to test the new setup will get priority processing and an expedited return.

The eID is essentially an identity verification system in app form, though it's only available for iOS at the moment. Every time a user wants to unlock the eID, they must scan their physical drivers' licenses or state-issued IDs and then use their phone to scan their face. This information is compared to state databases, matching data and photo, to certify and authenticate the eID -- and then it's off to the tax-filing races.

Essentially, it's using a panorama selfie to unlock digital identification, which Alabama officials believe to be just as secure as filing in person using a certified ID. With tax fraud a growing issue that costs the government over $400 billion every year, at least the eID could help folks ensure security on their end. According to the Alabama government's website, the plan is to keep the system around for next year and potentially let folks use their eID for other identity-sensitive processes, like applying for benefits online.