This year as thousands of people received their W-2’s and 1099 tax forms, they were asked for their driver’s license numbers upon filing. Several state tax offices requested license information as an added layer of protection for those completing online forms.
Verifying your driver’s license number is a simple way for states to verify that you are a legitimate person filing their taxes, and not a fraud who is using personal data to file a fake tax return to claim a fraudulent refund.
Identity thieves will likely already have your name and Social Security number, but most criminals don’t usually have the driver’s license numbers for the stolen identities in their possession. Now that state tax return offices are requesting license numbers, it’s easier for the to match it with other federal records that confirm your identity.
For those who don’t have a driver’s license or who prefer not to share it with the state tax office, you will generally be issued a state identification number via email, which you can specifically enter in place for your requested driver’s license number. In most cases, if you opt out of entering either number, you can still file your tax return at your own risk.
Anti-fraud steps have been implemented so that state tax officials can verify that you are a legitimate taxpayer. Denying state tax officials your license number or identification number could slow the processing of your return, because the system has not verified your identity with the requested credentials.
In the grand scheme of things, the added security is intended to ensure that the right people – legitimate tax filers are receiving their refunds instead of crooks who steal people’s identities. Be aware that the added security may require a little bit more patience in both filing and waiting on your tax return.