Georgia and North Carolina partner with MorphoTrust on eID tax project


Tax collecting agencies in Georgia and North Carolina may soon see the benefits of a highly trusted electronic ID (eID) to reduce the costly and growing problem of tax fraud, MorphoTrust USA (Safran) announced today, thanks to a new grant received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

Building upon the 2014 NSTIC grant from NIST to test the feasibility of the MorphoTrust eID product to improve access to state benefits, MorphoTrust, “The Identity Company,” will partner with multiple states to demonstrate how a trusted eID can significantly reduce instances of tax refund theft and identity fraud.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2013 that the IRS had paid $5.2 billion in refunds to individuals with fraudulent identities that year. In this new pilot, MorphoTrust will enable taxpayers in both states to lock their tax ID by requiring the Departments of Revenue to authenticate their identities before a tax return is processed. This check will empower the true taxpayer to know if someone is attempting to file a return in their name while also giving them a means to prevent illegitimate transactions from being processed.

The MorphoTrust eID leverages the highly trusted and secure systems of record managed by state motor vehicle agencies (MVAs). As the driver license is the proof-of-identity document we use most frequently in the United States to establish and assert our identity when identity matters, the MVA systems of record provide the most trusted and reliable foundation on which to base the eID.

Residents of both states will have the opportunity to ‘opt-in’ to participate in the pilot, and will receive access to the eID through an identity verification process that includes successfully passing a biographic and biometric match with each respective state’s driver license systems of record (DDS in Georgia and DOT in NC), in a manner that protects the privacy of all participants. Last year’s pilot in North Carolina tested the viability of creating the first secure eID for government services online. With the new grant, MorphoTrust will extend the solution across state lines and demonstrate a new use case where public sector agencies can collaborate to stop tax fraud while protecting individual identities in an online environment.

Several partners were involved in the grant, including: the Georgia Department of Revenue, the Georgia Technology Authority, the Georgia Department of Driver Services, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Department of Revenue and H&R Block. The grant is part of NIST’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), as with last year’s grant.

“This grant proves that our product vision for the eID is gaining traction in areas where trusted identity is vital,” said Bob Eckel, CEO of MorphoTrust. “We believe this will solve significant problems, like the theft of tax refunds that are widespread and costly. It is our hope that one day we will be able to take the lessons of this pilot and apply them to any online transaction, in the public or private sectors, where trust in identity matters.”

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