IRS’s “ID.me”: Not Ready for Prime Time

This afternoon, I needed to upload an IRS Power of Attorney form to the IRS’s CAF Unit.  The IRS advised me (on the login screen) that I should obtain an account on ID.me.

The IRS rightly wants to make sure that tax professionals are who they say they are.  So the IRS has partnered with ID.me to verify identity for tax professionals.  In theory, the process will be mandatory sometime during the Summer of 2022.  If you’re a tax professional tempted to start now with ID.me, I strongly advise waiting.

The ID.me process is both biometric and checking your credit record (to make sure you’re you).  You upload a picture of your driver’s license (or similar ID), a video capture, and enter your social security number.  In theory, it’s straightforward.  I recently used the Clear application to do a similar check for Covid vaccination without any issues.

Unfortunately, ID.me isn’t Clear.  I couldn’t use my phone’s camera for my driver’s license (but a scan worked just fine).  I couldn’t use my computer’s webcam for a video (but my phone worked fine for that).  And each time it failed, I had to shutdown the browser window and start over.

Once I had my ID.me setup, the program says it will take you back to the IRS.  Instead, I saw the following:

Yes, this is a new product and bugs are always going to happen.  But I think the IRS needs to do some additional extensive testing before this goes fully live.  As I noted, that date is sometime next summer so there’s plenty of time.  Until then, tax professionals should use the option to login using their IRS ID and skip ID.me.

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