Report: IRS Will Soon Require Facial Recognition For Certain Online Tax Activities

Sounds, cool, right? Giving the IRS a photo of yourself? But, don’t ask that a photo ID be required to cast a vote

The IRS will soon make you use facial recognition to access your taxes online

The Internal Revenue Service will require people who access and pay their taxes online to enroll in a third-party facial recognition company starting this summer (h/t Krebs on Security). Even those who have already registered on with a username and password will have to provide a government ID, a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie to, the Virginia-based identity verification company. You’ll take a video selfie with whatever webcam or mobile device you’re using to sign up, which seems likely to cause problems for people with older hardware or who don’t have access to one.

According to the IRS, is a “trusted technology provider” of identity verification services. Anyone who already has an account from another government agency can sign in with those credentials. Brian Krebs created a new account and wrote in his post that the sign-up process was time-consuming and glitchy. He got stuck about halfway through the process and had to start again from the beginning, then was prompted to join a video call with an representative — with a wait time of nearly three and a half hours.

Fantastic, they’re requiring a non-government company to capture your information! According to the IRS website, this will apply when

  • Online account: Securely access individual account information, including the total amount owed, payment history, Economic Impact Payments, payment plan details and more. (so, basically anytime you access the IRS website login)
  • Get Transcript Online of various 1040 filings
  • Online payment agreement
  • Child tax update portal
  • Get identity protection PIN

Why can’t we have voter ID and a PIN?

In its “privacy bill of rights,” says it doesn’t “sell, lead, or trade biometric data to any third parties or derive any profit from the sale, lease or trade of biometric data.” It can share information with its partners with users’ explicit permission, according to its website, and when you register for an account, you have to accept the company’s biometric consent policy. The company collects facial and voice biometrics to verify identity and protect against fraudulent behavior and to “comply with a request from law enforcement or government entities where not prohibited by law.” And even if you delete your account, the company may retain your biometric data for several years, depending on “the nature of the data and relevant legal or operational retention needs.”

They’ll just have what you look like and all your personal information. In order to register you will be providing a non-government agency with

  • Email address
  • Social Security number
  • Photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport, Passport Card, or State ID)
  • Mobile phone with camera
  • Laptop or computer with a webcam (optional)

Cool, huh? I wonder what statutory authority this is being done under

You may remember from earlier in the pandemic; more than two dozen states use the company to verify people applying for unemployment benefits. Motherboard reported in June 2021 that failed to identify some applicants and that they had difficulty reaching anyone at the company to remedy their problem. CEO Blake Hall told The Verge at the time that it uses a system similar to Apple’s FaceID or the way a TSA agent would compare a passenger’s face to their ID at an airport.

The TSA agent is looking at my driver’s license and then my face. I’m not giving the person my ID, and they don’t have a picture in their database. Interestingly, you need a picture ID to fly. But, Democrats do not want it required to vote.

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2 Responses to “Report: IRS Will Soon Require Facial Recognition For Certain Online Tax Activities”

  1. ruralcounsel says:

    My recommendation is everyone should stop e-filing their returns, and the IRS should be inundated with handwritten paper returns. Choke them to death on paper returns. They will be unable to handle it. They’ve been pushing for e-filing because it saves them time and resources.

    If you really want to fluster them, make minor math errors in your favor that will require them to respond with additional correspondence.

    Any “requirements” that involve giving them electronic biometric information should be refused. Make them do things manually, the old ways.

  2. Sabre22 says:

    Put a rider in the law for Voter ID facial recognition and it will die a quick death

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