IRS Will Soon Require Selfies of Taxpayers Wanting to Gain Online Access
The agency said additional IRS tools will transition to use ID.me verification "over the next year," according to a report.
Taxpayers will soon be required to take a selfie and to verify their identity with ID.me in order to access certain online applications and tools on the IRS website.
The agency said the move is being taken to protect against potential identity theft, but some privacy advocates said the move is a step too far, according to CBS News.
Existing online accounts with IRS.gov will no longer work as of the middle of 2022, the news outlet reported.
ID.me is an online identity verification service.
Journalist Brian Krebs, who was the first to notice the change on the IRS website, told CBS News that in order to sign up for an ID.me account, a user must include an email address and a phone number by which they can be reached, as well as upload documents confirming their identity. They also must take a live video feed of their faces via a mobile device.
If an applicant doesn't meet all of the requirements, or if their application triggers potential fraud flags, ID.me may require a user to have a recorded, live video chat, Krebs said. The process can be time consuming. "[F]or anyone who fails the automated signup, count on spending several hours getting verified," Krebs wrote on his website.
Starting in summer 2022, anyone in need of accessing online the IRS's Child Tax Credit Update Portal, their tax transcript, or a payment agreement with the IRS will need to have created an account with ID.me to do so, CNBC reported.
Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me justified the process stating that it is “both more secure and fairer” than the previous method of logging into IRS.gov, for those who are concerned about privacy issues, CBS reported.
"The most damaging thing that can happen to your privacy is not taking a selfie, it's having somebody get access to your medical records, or to your tax information," Hall told CBS MoneyWatch. "That selfie control is actively preventing a massive amount of identity theft."
The IRS noted that tax payers would not have to create an ID.me account in order to file their tax returns. Payments will still be able to be made via a credit card or bank account without having to log in.
"The IRS emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company. Tax payments can be made from a bank account, by credit card or by other means without the use of facial recognition technology or registering for an account," a spokesperson for the IRS said in a statement to CBS.
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