IRS Says Users No Longer Have to Add Facial Recognition on ID.me: Here’s How to Remove Your Photo

Beautiful mid-age woman standing by blue wall in office or home, using smart phone to take selfies.
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The IRS announced earlier this month that the agency will transition away from the controversial image-based verification system known as ID.me. Starting March 1, verification company ID.me said it will let anyone who created an account through the company to delete their selfies at account.ID.me — and any government agencies using this method can skip this step altogether, CBS News reported.

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This decision was announced on Feb. 21 following criticism of the practice coming from privacy advocates, taxpayers and lawmakers, CBS said. 

ID.me is used by taxpayers to register for an online IRS account. ID.me identified users by asking them to take a selfie and then matched it to a photo document, like a state ID or a driver’s license. Users could also confirm their identity through video chat. 

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Taxpayers are no longer required to use the facial recognition program and can instead verify their account via an online interview with an ID.me representative.

CNET reported that working with a representative requires at least two primary identification documents — and that the current wait for a live agent is about an hour. The interview is recorded, but the video will be deleted after 30 days, ID.me said. Additionally, taxpayers still have the option to verify their identity through the use of biometric verification through ID.me’s self-assistance tool.

According to ID.me, if you verified for the IRS before March 10, 2022, your selfie and biometric data will be automatically deleted by March 11, 2022. If you verify on or after March 11, 2022, your selfie and biometric data will be automatically deleted within 24 hours.

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CBS noted that the IRS plans to develop “an additional authentication process that does not involve facial recognition.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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