NEWS

Sen. Bill Cassidy raises concern over IRS identity verification measures

Staff Report

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and others have raised questions over the Internal Revenue Service’s announcement of a major expansion of its collaboration with ID.me.

According to a news release, it will require taxpayers to have an ID.me account to access key IRS online resources. In order to register with ID.me, taxpayers will need to submit to ID.me a trove of personal information, including sensitive biometric data, starting in the summer of 2022.

Sen.  Bill Cassidy speaks during a luncheon held Nov. 8, 2021 at the Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, the senators wrote, “The IRS has unilaterally decided to allow an outside contractor to stand as the gatekeeper between citizens and necessary government services. The decision millions of Americans are forced to make is to pay the toll of giving up their most personal information, biometric data, to an outside contractor or return to the era of a paper-driven bureaucracy where information moves slow, is inaccurate, and some would say is processed in ways incompatible with contemporary life.” 

The senators pointed out: 

  • The intrusive verification measures that may be required of taxpayers, such as submitting to ID.me biometric data like a video “selfie”--an identifier that cannot be changed if compromised, unlike a password;
  • Cybersecurity standards, and how such sensitive data will be stored and protected;
  • Oversight issues, since ID.me is not subject to the same oversight rules as a government agency; and 
  • Taxpayer advocacy issues, and what assurances and rights are allowed taxpayers within the collaboration, as it appears taxpayers would be subject to multiple terms of agreement filled with dense legal print.