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The IRS Wants (Requires) Your Photo?

Americans won’t need identification for basic tax services via the IRS website, but for some functions, such as a childcare tax credit, they must register with ID.me.

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service says that beginning this summer, it will require people who pay their taxes online to use facial recognition in order to access certain tools and applications at IRS.gov. A username and password will no longer suffice when the rule takes effect.

Instead, you will need to provide a government ID (such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport), a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie to ID.me, a third-party identity verification company that uses facial recognition. To sign up, the company will ask you to take a video selfie with your webcam from your computer or smartphone.

If you have an ID.me account from another government agency, you can use those credentials to log on. The IRS is prompting users to create an ID.me account “as soon as possible.”

The selfie requirement applies to many Americans, including almost all working parents who file via the IRS website and use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. It’s also required for a tax transcript, to view a payment agreement with the IRS and other functions.

“The IRS emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company,” the agency said in a statement. “Tax payments can be made from a bank account, by credit card, or by other means without the use of facial recognition technology or registering for an account.”

Source: “The IRS Will Soon Make You Use Facial Recognition to Access Your Taxes Online,” The Verge (Jan. 20, 2022) and “IRS Will Soon Require a Selfie to Access Some of its Online Tools and Applications,” CNBC.com (Jan. 20, 2022)

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