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The identity verification process to be an obstacle for getting a refund to taxpayers


Jeff Lavigne, 42, is suffering from chronic back pain making it difficult for him to work long working hours. The former restaurant manager does not have a full-time job or health insurance. He plans to use his tax refund of about $2,700 for getting medical aid. But the money has been withheld due to identity crises. He is trying his best for identity verification but the phone lines are clogged & online authentication is unavailable. Many of the American taxpayers’ refunds have been delayed during the 2021 filing season. According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS, the IRS flagged 5.2 million tax refunds to be fraudulent during the last year which is a drastic increase of about 50% over 2019. Among these, 1.9 million were flagged for identity screening. The IRS wants to ensure that a crook isn’t using a taxpayers’ identity to claim a refund. To avoid such circumstances, IRS doesn’t issue a refund until the person responds. People can verify their identities through the online IRS website. For this, the step is to go through an authentication process called “Secure Access.” But less than half of them have succeeded in this process. Then these taxpayers need to contact an IRS agent. Currently, the IRS also does not have sufficient staff to manage such huge numbers of taxpayers’. IRS technology is not machine-based & requires a manual fix. Mark Mazur, deputy assistant secretary, told that the IRS has insufficient resources to meet enforcement & administrative challenges to deliver service to taxpayers. He believes technology upgrades would definitely improve the service to respond in a timely manner. Lavigne was able to reach someone at the local office in Framers branch, Texas. She said it will take somewhere around nine weeks to get the refund back.

 Source: CNBC


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