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The IRS will soon make you submit a selfie before you can see your taxes online

Leave it to the IRS to continue to complicate things.

irs seal and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

The IRS is looking to complicate the tax process even further. Starting in the summer of 2022, people who file their taxes online will have to start using facial recognition software to verify their identity before they can even log in to the IRS website.

Initially discovered by Krebs on Security, the IRS has teamed up with Virginia-based company ID.me to add another layer of security to its website. Instead of just being able to log in with a password, users will soon have to submit a government ID card to ID.me, as well as upload a selfie using their phone or computer camera.

ID.me will use its facial recognition software to match the selfie that users upload with the government ID card that they submit. If the software fails to verify a user’s identity, they will have to join a video call with an ID.me representative to verify.

tax id selfie
Image: Krebs on Security

ID.me has been around for a little over a decade now. The company gained popularity last year after it was revealed that several U.S. states were using the service to help verify the identities of individuals trying to claim unemployment benefits.

This sounds like a good idea that adds an extra level of protection to the IRS website, but we have to remember that we are talking about the IRS. The IRS is a notorious logistical nightmare, the worst government entity that exists in this nation.

If there’s a chance to screw up the ID.me processes and services, then the IRS will almost certainly be the one to screw it up. While ID.me adds a level of security, it also adds a level of complexity. And any extra complexity when dealing with the IRS is always going to be a pain in the ass.

Hopefully, the headaches caused by this new system are kept to a minimum.

UPDATE 2/7/2022 4:21 PM ET: In response to widespread criticism, the Internal Revenue Service has announced it is transitioning away from using third-party facial recognition companies to verify taxpayers’ identities.

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