Ian Patrick, FISM News
Reports from the beginning of this year suggest that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will start requiring users to submit biometric data after this tax season to access their tax documents.
Corroborating reports from FOX Business and Gizmodo confirm that the IRS will be requiring a selfie to be uploaded through a third-party site in order for users to access their sensitive tax data.
The government agency has partnered with ID.me, which provides online security services to businesses and government entities. On their website, ID.me CEO and Founder Blake Hall assures that their product can protect Americans from potential theft.
ID.me combines best-in-breed 1:1 face match technology with video chat agents available as backup. We remain the only digital identity verification service certified against the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines to offer three ways to verify your identity, including automated self-serve, live video chat, and in-person processes. Our 1:1 face match is comparable to taking a selfie to unlock a smartphone.
The company goes on to further explain how the process is similar to taking a selfie on your smartphone. It also assures consumers that their technology shows no “bias or discrimination” and that the company “does not sell the personal information of our users.”
In November of 2021, the IRS announced that they would be using ID.me as their “trusted technology provider.” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said at the time that online 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,” Rettig added.
This process won’t begin until this summer, after tax season 2022 has wrapped up. An IRS spokesperson told Gizmodo that the new biometric system allows users on the IRS website to “‘View or Create Payment Plans,’ ‘Make and View Payments,’ ‘Manage Communication Preferences,’ ‘Access Tax Records,’ and ‘View Tax Pro Authorizations.’“
However, the IRS issued an update to Gizmodo claiming that there were “wildly inaccurate statements regarding the use of selfies relating to paying and filing taxes.” According to this update, users can pay and file their taxes on the IRS website without requiring biometric data.
The IRS says the face-scanning technology will be used for “accessing IRS’ self-help tools such as checking your account online and getting a transcript online.”
Gizmodo sums up the update by saying that the “official position” of the IRS ” is that you can e-file without uploading a selfie, a selfie will be required for accessing your records through IRS.gov, and that’s not changing for now.”
“Just be aware, when filing your taxes, that virtually everything will indicate that you must use this new system, but that’s not true,” it concludes.
This all comes as, today, Jan. 24, marks the first day of tax season in 2022. The IRS is requesting that Americans file electronically this year as it deals with an understaffed work force, high call volumes, and a backlog of work.