The IRS will soon require payers to provide selfies to provide more secure access to certain tools and apps on its website.
The additional layer of facial recognition will be required beginning in the summer of 2022 to log into the IRS website and access the Child Tax Credit update portal, verify online accounts, obtain statements tax notes or view payment agreements online.
However, the IRS said people will not be required to submit a selfie or go through facial recognition software to submit their tax return.
Previously, a simple username and password was enough to access the website, but from this year taxpayers will have to create an account with identity verification company ID.me by providing a document issued by the government with a photo, such as a driver’s license or passport, and also take a video selfie of themselves using a phone or computer.
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“Identity verification is critical to protecting taxpayers and their information,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “The IRS has worked 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.”
All existing IRS accounts will work until the summer, then taxpayers will need to create a new account with ID.me in order to continue accessing the full suite of tools on the IRS website.
ID.me is a technology company that provides secure identity verification by comparing a government-issued photo ID provided by a user with a submitted video selfie. Along with the photo ID and video selfie, taxpayers will also need to provide ID.me with an email address and social security number to be fully verified.
Some privacy advocates have voiced criticism of the new IRS policy, saying it would result in the misuse of sensitive personal information.
“Very shitty short term decision making that will only further ruin Americans when their data is inevitably hacked,” tweeted Jackie Singh, Director of Technology and Operations for the Surveillance Technology Surveillance Project.
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“Now that Facebook has ‘deleted’ their data, I guess it must be coming from somewhere else,” she added.