IRS reopens income verification service used by lenders

 While the partial government shutdown did not affect conventional home loans, some lender requirements were impacted, such as an IRS-based system to verify borrowers' incomes. When the Internal Revenue Service shut down, lenders lost the ability to verify incomes and had to create alternate systems.

However the U.S. Department of the Treasury says it will again verify incomes even through the government shutdown.

"While the IRS remains closed during the partial government shutdown, the agency recognizes the immediate hardship incurred if information is not available through the Income Verification Express Service (IVES) program as well as by taxpayers who have been unable to certify their residency in the United States for certain tax treaty benefits or by those who have been unable to obtain photocopies of tax returns," the department said in a statement.

The IRS began processing requests on Jan. 7 for transcript information through IVES. It says that IVES is a user fee-based program used primarily by mortgage lenders and others within the financial community to confirm the income of a borrower during the processing of a loan application, and those fees will be used to pay for the program during the shutdown, along with other user fee-based services, such as providing a letter needed by some taxpayers to certify their residency in the United States and responding to requests for photocopies of tax returns.

"It will take time to bring this service up to normal operating status," the Treasury statement added. "The IRS advises IVES participants that it may initially take longer than the standard 72-hour turnaround time for the IRS to process these requests. This is due to employees being brought back to work to begin processing backlogged requests since the funding lapse began on Dec. 22."

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