IRS will let tax payers opt out of facial recognition, but there's a big catch

Person Doing Taxes
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although the IRS has dropped its plans to use video selfies to verify the identities of taxpayers, this year's tax season is still set to be a bit more chaotic than usual.

Originally the government agency had planned to use the third-party identity verification provider as part of its efforts to require taxpayers to create new online accounts. However, following backlash, the IRS reversed course despite its $86m contract with the firm.

Now though, the IRS has announced that taxpayers that don't want to submit biometric data to sign up for an online account with the government agency and will have another option to verify their identities. It seems the IRS is taking a page out of's book as the identity verification firm recently gave public sector employees working for the government the option to verify their identities with a human agent.

Taxpayers will be now able to verify their identities via a live virtual interview to create an account on the IRS' website.

A short-term solution

In addition to virtual interviews with IRS agents, taxpayers will still have the option to verify their identity automatically through's self-assistance tool if they choose.

At the same time, new requirements have been put in place for those that choose this option to ensure that the images they provide are deleted after their account has been created. Meanwhile, any existing biometric data from taxpayers that have already created an IRS Online Account will be permanently deleted over the course of the next few weeks.

The IRS remains intent on having taxpayers verify their identities to access its online services which is why the government agency is developing its own authentication tool. The IRS provided further details on its upcoming tool which will be available next year in a press release, saying:

“While this short-term solution is in place for this year’s filing season, the IRS will work closely with partners across government to roll out Login.Gov as an authentication tool. The General Services Administration is currently working with the IRS to achieve the security standards and scale required of Login.Gov, with the goal of moving toward introducing this option after the 2022 filing deadline.”

Even though the IRS is moving away from using, this tax season is likely to be quite tedious for taxpayers who also still need to worry about tax-related identity theft.

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.