The IRS is making ID.me its official identity provider. The agency first started trialing ID.me’s platform back in 2017, initially using the technology to administer its child tax credit programs. The service has since expanded to encompass other digital services, and it will soon be mandatory for any taxpayers who want to access IRS services online.
As it stands, anyone who tries to create a new Online Account with the IRS will now be forced to create an ID.me account in order to do so. Those who opened an IRS account before the ID.me requirement was put in place will not need to make an ID.me account immediately, but will be expected to have one by summer of this year. The IRS is yet to provide a firm date for the transition.
Once created, taxpayers can use their account to view their tax records, make tax payments, and manage things like their advance child tax credit payments. ID.me can also be used with other participating federal agencies like the Social Security and Veteran Affairs departments, and to access government services in 27 US states. Citizens will not need to re-enroll in the ID.me program, but they will need to give each agency permission to access the information in their ID.me account.
To create an account, taxpayers will need to take a photo of an identity document (either a US passport, a state driver’s license, or a US passport card), and then take a video selfie. ID.me will use facial recognition to match the selfie to the image on the ID. If ID.me is unable to complete the match, the user will be referred to a human agent, who will verify that person’s identity during a video call. In those cases, the user will be expected to provide additional documents to prove their identity.
The IRS is hoping that its partnership with ID.me will help reduce taxation fraud. ID.me received FedRAMP Authority to Operate in June, and boasted that its remote identity technology had helped distribute $1.2 billion in unemployment claims as of October of 2020. In December, the company also hired a new Chief Product Officer to drive its expansion efforts.