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The IRS Will Use in the Future, But for This Tax Season, Video Interviews Are Here to Stay

The IRS Will Use in the Future, But for This Tax Season, Video Interviews Are Here to Stay

Two weeks after abandoning a controversial facial recognition scheme, the IRS has released new details about how it plans to change the system. In a statement on Monday, the agency confirmed that all users of the website will be able to opt out of biometric data collection, offering video interviews as an option for this year's filers and in a government-run authentication system. Change promised. service in future.

"[A] new option in the agency's authentication system is now available for taxpayers to sign up for IRS online accounts without the use of any biometric data, including facial recognition," the statement said. “This is in line with the IRS' commitment earlier this month to do away with the need for a third-party service to provide a selfie to an IRS online account to help taxpayers authenticate their identity. "

The implementation of the opt-out feature, after intense criticism from both legislators and the general public alike, is inspired by the IRS's January announcement that facial recognition scans are a pre-requisite for accessing tax information via the website. will be required.

In the face of backlash, the tax agency abandoned its initial plans to use facial recognition services provided by identity verification company, a clear victory for facial recognition critics.

As per the latest announcement, in future, the IRS will transition to the use of to create online taxpayer accounts. Developed by the government, is a secure sign-in service for accessing government services, although it does not perform the same identity verification techniques employed by

But with the tax filing deadline approaching, the system may not be rolled out fast enough or securely enough to authenticate taxpayers who submitted returns before the 2022 filing date.

Meanwhile, the IRS said, it will employ a "short-term solution" whereby taxpayers who do not wish to submit biometric data collection can verify their identities via live virtual interviews.

In practice, this means taxpayers will still interact with's services, but through a human video reviewer rather than a facial recognition system. However, it is not clear how long online account users should wait to access the human review process. Forced benefits claimants forced to use the service have often complained of long wait times,'s own video review employees enduring high performance quotas and stressful working conditions to meet demand.

The IRS did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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