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US tax office chooses ID.me over Login.gov for digital ID pilot

US tax office chooses ID.me over Login.gov for digital ID pilot

Identity verification firm ID.me has been chosen by the U.S. tax agency for its single sign on Direct File pilot. The Internal Revenue Service says ID.me is the project’s only qualified option.

This is another chapter in the IRS’ uneven efforts to modernize tax-filing through the use of digital IDs. The federal government is continuing to labor over its own single sign-on, Login.gov, but the IRS says that that program is insufficiently secure.

As its name suggests, Direct File is intended to give taxpayers a way to cut out intermediaries. It’s optional; all other approved filing processes remain valid. ID.me can verify an identity, at a taxpayer’s request, using face biometrics or through video calls to company customer support staff.

It’s a good win for ID.me in terms of revenue but also for the validation of complying with NIST’s identity assurance level 2 (IAL2) verification and sign-in standard. IRS officials claim it is the only vendor available to it that meets that standard.

The company has also just been chosen by e-commerce company FEVO to verify its customers.

That rollout is expected to be smoother than the IRS’ January 2022 introduction of digital ID verification using ID.me as one option for taxpayers choosing to create a digital account.

There was a mini revolt among some taxpayers who erroneously thought the IRS was requiring them to submit to biometric scans to pay their taxes. The government pulled back before coming up with the Direct File pilot.

This time around, the IRS is trying to be clearer about Direct File being optional.

Also fresh in many people’s minds is how the General Services Administration allegedly told other government agencies that Login.gov complied with IAL2 when it did not.

The IRS does not rule out using Login.gov in the future.

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