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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday rejected Equifax’s bid to retain its $7.25 million “taxpayer identity” contract—the one awarded days after Equifax announced it had exposed the Social Security numbers and other personal data of some 145 million people.

At its core, the Equifax-IRS ordeal reveals the strangeness of the government contacting system.

That’s because Equifax wasn’t even originally chosen to continue its contract with the IRS’s Secure Access online program, which enables taxpayers to store and retrieve online tax records.

But because Equifax protested the agency giving the contract to rival Experian for a fraction of the cost, the IRS said contracting rules demanded that it offer a “bridge” contact to Equifax until the GAO sorts out the protest.
The GAO sorted everything out on Monday.
It set aside Equifax’s challenge that contended Experian, whose bid was worth up to $795,000 annually, didn’t have the technological wherewithal to verify taxpayers signing up for the Secure Access program.
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