IRS to Ditch Problematic ID.Me and Facial Recognition This Tax Season

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The IRS will end its relationship with third-party identity verification ID.me, the agency announced on Feb. 7. The service has been in place to verify taxpayers’ identities, unlocking access to tax accounts online. The facial recognition component proved to be problematic for the agency, and it made a decision to scrap the service altogether before moving forward.

“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 agency announced the transition will take place over the course of several weeks in order to prevent larger disruptions during what is expected to be a particularly busy tax filing season. During this time, the IRS stated it will quickly bring on an additional identity verification process — one that does not rely upon facial recognition. 

The transition will not have an effect on filing taxes or verifying your identity during tax season. For some, the transition might be a welcome change. As GBR reported in October, the third-party verification service had some disconnects with the documents it accepted for identity verification. The service requested pay stub information with a Social Security number of the payee on the document.

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GBR contacted ADP, one of the nation’s largest pay stub providers, who stated the IRS actually mandated that Social Security numbers be present on tax documents to protect against identity theft and to guard against fraudulent tax returns. Needless to say, the process of having one’s identity verified through the service was not seamless. If other taxpayers experienced similar difficulties in using the service, a transition of identity verification providers could help move tax season along more smoothly.

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