IRS Says It Will Stop Using Facial-Recognition After Backlash
Update (Feb. 7, 2022) – The IRS announced Monday that it will transition away from using a third-party service for facial recognition to help authenticate people creating new online accounts. The transition will occur over the coming weeks in order to prevent larger disruptions to taxpayers during filing season. The news comes after backlash over the controversial security feature.
During the transition, the IRS will quickly develop and bring online an additional authentication process that does not involve facial recognition. The IRS will also continue to work with its cross-government partners to develop authentication methods that protect taxpayer data and ensure broad access to online tools.
“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly pursuing short-term options that do not involve facial recognition.”
The transition will not interfere with the taxpayer’s ability to file their return or pay taxes owed. During this period, the IRS will continue to accept tax filings, and it has no other impact on the current tax season. So continue to file your taxes as you normally would.
IRS to Require Selfies for Access to Online Tools and Services
(Jan. 21, 2022) – Starting this summer, you will need to submit a selfie to the IRS in order to use some of its online tools and services.
The Internal Revenue Service announced the launch of a new identity verification and sign-in process for IRS online tools and applications in November. Taxpayers will be asked to sign in with an ID.me account. People who already have IRS usernames may continue to use their credentials from the old system to sign-in until summer 2022, but are prompted to create an ID.me account as soon as possible.
ID.me is an online identity network that allows people to prove their legal identity online. Users can use that digital credential to access government services, healthcare logins, discounts from retail brands, and now IRS services. It launched over 10 years ago as a tool for service members and veterans to access online services benefits.
“Identity verification is critical to protect taxpayers and their information. The IRS has been working hard to make improvements in this area, and this new verification process is designed to make IRS online applications as secure as possible for people,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “To help taxpayers and the tax community, we are improving the accessibility of online tools that help families manage their Child Tax Credit, check on their IRS accounts and securely perform other routine tasks online.”
The IRS also integrated this new account-creation process into some applications used by tax professionals, including those used to request powers of attorney or tax information authorizations online using Tax Pro Account or to submit Forms 2848 and 8821 online.
Using ID.me for IRS Services
To verify their identity with ID.me, taxpayers need to provide a photo of an identity document such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport. They’ll also need to take a selfie with a smartphone or a computer with a webcam. Once their identity has been verified, they can securely access IRS online services.
You don’t need to do this to file your taxes, but an ID.me account is required to gain entry to IRS online services such as the:
- Child Tax Credit Update Portal,
- Online Account,
- Get Transcript Online,
- Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) and
- Online Payment Agreement.