If you want to access certain parts of the IRS website, you will soon need to take a selfie.
Starting this summer, the tax agency is requiring people who want to log into their accounts to submit selfies and photos of their ID documents. It’s part of a program designed for identity protection, the IRS said in a news release.
Although the change was announced at the end of 2021, the topic has recently drawn attention as tax season begins in the United States.
The new logins will be used to access parts of the IRS website that display information on topics such as child tax credit updates, tax return transcripts, and online payment agreements. line.
The program is offered through a partnership with ID.me, a technology company. It uses facial recognition software to compare selfies with photos in government documents, media reported.
“The IRS emphasizes that taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company,” the agency told CNBC in a statement. “Tax payments can be made from a bank account, credit card or other means without using facial recognition technology or opening an account.”
Legal experts told CNN Business and other media that the involvement of a private entity could raise concerns.
“You go from a government agency, which has at least some obligation under the Privacy Act and other laws, to a third party, where [there’s a] lack of transparency and understanding, and the potential risks increase,” Jeramie D. Scott, senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Washington Post.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS have been considering alternatives “as part of careful review” of the program, Bloomberg reported on Jan. 28.
The tax agency, which had called ID.me a “trusted technology provider”, said the new process aims to ensure that sensitive tax information is “as secure as possible”.
“To help taxpayers and the tax community, we are improving the accessibility of online tools that help families manage their child tax credit, verify their IRS accounts, and perform other routine tasks securely. online,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the news. Release.
To use the program, the government said users will need to submit a photo of a driver’s license, passport or other form of identification. They will also have to take “video selfies” from a smartphone or a computer webcam.
Officials encouraged people to start the verification process as soon as possible.
If you’re ready, visit the IRS website’s login page and choose “create an account with ID.me,” officials said. The company lists additional steps here.
When reached for comment, an ID.me spokesperson directed McClatchy News to a blog post about identity fraud. The Treasury Department did not immediately share additional information with McClatchy News on Jan. 28.
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