IRS Will Require Facial Recognition Scans to Access Your Taxes

The IRS will soon require online tax filers to submit selfies to a third-party identity verification company in order to file their taxes.

Users with an account will no longer be able to log in with a simple password starting this summer. To confirm their identity, they will need to provide a government identification document, a selfie, and copies of their bills. The change marks a major shift for the IRS, which used to allow users to file their taxes without providing personal data.

In a statement to Gizmodo, the IRS said that users can still receive basic information from the IRS website without logging in, but that they would need to sign in through to make and view payments, access tax records, view or create payment plans, manage communications preference,

Most people will be filing taxes later this year. If you want to log in to your accounts with, you will have to create an account with the company by uploading either a driver's license, passport, or passport card. Users are told to use a camera on their computer to take a selfies. The company uses a face match facial recognition system to verify the selfies are legit. Users can use these credentials to verify their identity across any of's partners if approved in the system.

The user can join a recorded video call with an representative if the system fails to verify a selfie or flag other issues that could be considered fraud. claims to have verified more than two million people through these referees and has begun implementing some in-person identity verification options across the country.

The company said that it offers multiple relief valves or escape hatches to make sure there is always a path forward for everyone. We are committed to a policy of no identity left behind.

It is not clear if IRS filers have an equivalent escape hatch. When asked if there were alternatives for people who don't have access to technology or who don't want to submit their fingerprints, an IRS spokesman directed Gizmodo to a website where they could find information on how to request physical transcripts by mail. Neither the IRS nor could give a specific example of how to access tax documents online.'s verification process does not work perfectly. A member of the staff at Gizmodo was unable to verify their image due to the quality of theirWebcam. Unable to resolve the issue, that person decided to ditch the digital system and mail their payment.

I completed the first stages of the application to see what it was like. The process required me to submit a photo of my driver's license as well as a face Scan using my phone's front camera. I had to give my social security number and it asked for permission to see my credit profile. I stopped short at the final stage but I would have given up a lot of personal identifying information if I had continued.

In a white paper shared with Gizmodo by, the company drew a distinction between its face match system and lesser facial recognition verification systems. said that face match is similar to an airport agent comparing your face to a photo on your government ID card. Facial recognition is similar to giving your picture to the same agent, putting him on stage at a rock concert, and asking him to pick your face out of the crowd.

The key difference is that compares the face scans to a single government document, instead of using a wide trove of potential matches. Despite the distinction, digital rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation still have serious concerns over the use of face-matching technology. According to's internal research, there was no racial bias tied to skin type. The face-match step has a 98.9% pass rate. doesn't trade, sell, or lease data to any third parties, though it does share some data with "select partners." Users are required to accept's consent policy before submitting government documents. The company collects both facial and voiceprints. The company's policies state that they may be used to comply with requests from law enforcement or government entities where not prohibited by law. The company may retain the data for up to seven and a half years if a user cancels their relationship with

The company itself has been around for over a decade, but the IRS formally announced had become a "trusted technology provider" last November. is a leader in identity verification. The company gained attention last year when it was reported that at least 27 U.S. states were using its service to vet jobless claims applicants during the Pandemic. The technology was introduced to combat fraud. The additional layer of verification was making it difficult for people who are not used to technology to access benefits.

In New York, News10NBC reported on a woman who claimed she had waited 19 weeks for her unemployment benefits.

The woman told News10 that she only gets $168 a week for groceries, medical, and gas. I can't get through to a real person when I call, so I try to talk to someone else.

These individual cases offer a potential warning sign for what may happen when all online U.S. tax fillers are required to use a verification system.