The IRS announced Feb. 7, 2022, that it will transition away from the use of third-party verification involving facial recognition. This is good news for the profession and the taxpayers.
By David Donnelly, CPA-Houston
In 2021, the IRS began using facial recognition technology in their Advance Child Tax Credit program. This technology required taxpayers to upload certain photographic identification (for instance, a driver’s license) and then take a ”selfie” with their computer, phone or other device, in order for the IRS to authenticate the taxpayer’s identity. The program is being administered through a subcontractor, id.me.
The IRS has announced that this identification program will be expanded to the practitioner community in the summer of 2022. Practitioners will be required to register for this authentication process to access their e-Services account.
The system, as used in the ACTC program, has been difficult to use and, as designed, excludes taxpayers who do not have access to the technology. The same problems will exist for the practitioner community.
In addition, there has been much discussion in the professional media and in Congress about the use of this technology and whether it is appropriate for tax collections. There are also concerns regarding the confidentiality of the data, the security of the data in the hands of a third-party contractor, potential expansion of the program to other or inappropriate areas and the roll-out of the program without a public comment period.
While the TXCPA Federal Tax Policy Committee understands the difficulties faced by the IRS regarding identity issues, we share the general concerns regarding this entire matter. We are currently working on a comment letter to the Commissioner of the IRS. Hopefully, the concerns about this program will cause the IRS to re-assess the program; TXCPA intends for the voice of our members and the practitioner community as a whole to be heard in this re-assessment.
We have been informed that Treasury is reviewing the use of the id.me system. Since the news is ambiguous, Treasury could be considering an alternative biometric ID authentication platform. The FTP will issue comments.