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Update: IRS transitioning away from facial recognition system

Update: IRS transitioning away from facial recognition system
Ines Zemelman, EA
27 January 2022


Update: IRS reverses course, announces transition away from

As of Feb 7, 2022 - the IRS announced it will transition away from (third-party service) for facial recognition to help authenticate taxpayer identities for IRS portals. They expect this transition to take several weeks and they are working on developing new authentication methods that do not involve facial recognition.

ORIGINAL: accounts now required to access online accounts for US taxpayers

In a push for increased security, the IRS has unveiled a new verification process for US taxpayers who want to access their online accounts. The IRS will be utilizing the third party service, to verify individuals. Verification will include taking a selfie and submitting a photo of driver’s license or passport. 

IRS portals that require

This verification is needed to access data - but not to pay taxes. The other online IRS portals that will require using verification are: your IRS online account, obtaining a transcript online, Child Tax Credit Update Portal, Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) and Online Payment Agreement

You can still pay taxes without utilizing 

How to get verified

Getting verified is a multi-step process.

  1. Create account
  2. Upload a photo of your license or state ID, passport, or social security card.
  3. Take a video selfie (you will receive a text message with a secure link)
  4. Enter social security number
  5. If you are unable to verify your identity through the automated system, video call possible

If you are unable to use the online tools (admittedly, we failed multiple attempts on both webcam and phone cameras) - you will be redirected to join a video call with a live representative from

Anecdotal evidence: Getting verified is difficult

There are reports that women and people of color are having more difficulty being verified through the software than others. 

Items of note, especially for expats

  • Address on your account must match the verification documents
  • Documents in a foreign language may be rejected.
  • If you are unable to verify online, you will have to show physical documents to the online agent. history is a private company with government contracts with many state agencies and now the IRS to verify legal identities of individuals.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX