Mortgage lenders and other financial institutions were
relieved when the IRS declined a request from the Treasury Inspector General to
shut down its Income and Verification Express Service (IVES), routinely used by
mortgage lenders, other financial institutions, and tax preparers to verify
income of taxpayers.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) had strongly opposed
the suggested shutdown, arguing that mortgage lending would grind to a
temporary halt if lenders were unable to access IRS data on the income of
prospective borrowers. Even a short-term shutdown would have interrupted
thousands of verification requests, and significantly delayed mortgage lending.
Virtually all of the MBA’s 2,300 members use the program, as do the Federal
Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It was the Inspector General’s March 23, 2018, audit report that
had suggested the IRS shut down the program until it could verify that only
legitimate taxpayers sign the Form 4506-T “Request for Transcript of Tax
Return,” a document that allows the release of their transcript to authorized
IVES participants. In declining the request, the IRS, stated that new IVES
participant certification requirements were adequate to provide the necessary
The IRS has also formed a working group to consider
improvements to the transcript process, which met on March 14. And a discussion
draft of an IRS reform bill released by the House Ways and Means Oversight
Subcommittee on March 26 would authorize the IRS to develop a new IVES system
funded by user fees. Among other suggestions, the bill would replace the
current facsimile-based IVES system with an internet based system.
Although changes may be coming, it appears there is
widespread agreement on the importance of the IVES system among government and
private sector stakeholders.
Worldwide ERC members will benefit from the maintenance and
improvement of the system through the orderly and timely processing of mortgage
financing and home sales.