Following up on my previous posts (linked below): Wall Street Journal Tax Report, They’re Your IRS Records. Getting Them Means Giving Up Privacy.:
Tax Day 2022 has come and gone, but this year’s filing season brought an unpleasant surprise for many Americans that’s still here: People who want online access to their tax records at the Internal Revenue Service have to turn over sensitive personal information to an outside company to get them. ...
Over the last decade, the IRS has had severe problems with its own systems that limited access for many taxpayers, so last year it turned to an outside vendor, ID.me, to verify identities. ID.me, which originated to help military families access benefits, is based in McLean, Va. It now provides online ID verification services to 10 federal agencies and 30 states. Its contract with the IRS is for up to $86.8 million.
Now, taxpayers who want to view their IRS records online must submit copies of driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and other documents to ID.me as proof of identity.
ID.me says that due to federal requirements, applicants must also provide a certain type of facial “selfie” or else have an online video interview with a representative for comparison with photo IDs.
A spokesman says the average wait time for an interview, which was sometimes more than two hours during filing season, was less than 10 minutes recently. ...
In February, a furor arose over ID.me’s then-requirement that applicants provide a selfie as “biometric” data to help prove identity. After members of Congress and privacy specialists protested that biometrics can be faulty and have dangerous consequences, the company made the selfie requirement optional for users who have a video interview. It also said it would delete facial images collected of IRS users within 24 hours of getting them. ...
In late April, a Treasury official said, “Both Treasury and the IRS are committed to transitioning away from ID.me as soon as possible.” ... Whatever happens next, ID.me is the only practical route most taxpayers now have to their IRS records.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage: