WASHINGTON, DC – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to transition away from third-party facial recognition services used to authenticate new online accounts. Therefore, selfies will no longer be required to set up an IRS account.
Previously, the IRS contracted with ID.me to authenticate customers using IRS accounts with facial recognition. Once set up with ID.me, the customer would provide a selfie during the login process to compare to the ID.me facial recognition software.
As privacy concerns mounted, U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga (R-Mich) filed H.R. 6609 in Congress on Friday, February 4, 2022 to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from using facial recognition technology to access any Internal Revenue Service online account. The resolution has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
While ID.me says it does not sell any personal information it collects, Rep. Huizenga still told FOXBusiness, “I just don't trust them with this information in that 1) I don't think they're going to be able to keep it secure and 2) I don't trust them with what they will then do with the information.”
Today, under pressure from lawmakers, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised. 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." This is a reversal of his previous stance that facial recognition was the only way to protect taxpayer accounts.
The IRS wants the public to know that today’s announcement to stop using facial recognition does not interfere with the taxpayer’s ability to file their return or pay any taxes owed.