The IRS has backed away from a plan to use facial recognition technology as part of its online verification process for taxpayers, but the agency is continuing to take steps to increase security for those who need to access their IRS accounts.
Privacy advocates, elected officials and others voiced concerns that the plans would require taxpayers to provide biometric data to the IRS.
The IRS had been using the company ID.me to provide its new identity verification service, as have other government agencies. The shift to a new verification service is in response to several high-profile cyberattacks in recent years.
The process for signing up for an ID.me account through the IRS would have required multiple steps to verify your identity, including submitting copies of bills and identity documents as well as providing a real-time selfie to compare with a photo ID. This provision alarmed members of the public. In response, the IRS pulled back on these plans but has stated it will develop an online alternative authentication process that does not involve facial recognition.
The IRS has also stated that the transition to a new authentication process will not interfere with taxpayer’s ability to fille or pay taxes this tax season since the ID.me technology has not been required for filing taxes online.
While these plans have been shelved for now, the IRS is still experiencing unprecedented backlogs of processing tax returns from last year. Nearly 24 million returns are still in the pipeline and some taxpayers have been waiting nearly a year for refunds. The 2022 filing season will also be slow with long wait times when trying to communicate with the IRS.
As a result, the IRS announced it will temporarily stop mailing some automated collection notices, including unfiled notice returns, balance due notices, withholding compliance letters, and business return delinquency notices.
If you should receive an automated collection notice, please contact our office immediately.
Pat Herrera, EA, is a Senior with our Business and Tax Advisory Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.