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The IRS will soon make taxpayers upload a selfie to access certain tax tools.
“Starting in summer 2022, if you need to login to the IRS’s website to access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, get your tax transcript or view a payment agreement with the agency, you will need to create an account with third-party identity verification company ID.me,” CNBC reported. “A simple username and password will no longer suffice: You will need to provide a government document with a photo, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport, and take a video selfie with your smartphone or computer.”
An IRS spokesperson told CNBC that taxpayers can still pay or file their taxes “without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company” by using bank accounts, credit cards, and similar means. However, CNBC again emphasized that doing the aforementioned “basic things” — as well as “applying for payment plans” and “monitoring stimulus checks” — will require facial identification.
Last year, the Biden administration’s IRS also drew ire for a plan that would have compelled banks to report gross account inflows and outflows to the IRS for transactions of $600 or more. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen brushed off concerns about the plan during an interview with CNBC.
“Right now, on every bank account that earns more than $10 a year in interest, the banks report the interest or into the IRS,” she explained. “That’s part of the information base that includes W2s and reports on dividends and other income that taxpayers have earned, so collection of information is routine.”
“It comes from places where the information on income is opaque and can be hidden,” she added. “And a simple way for the IRS to get a sense of where that might be is just a few pieces of information about individuals’ bank accounts, nothing at the transaction level that would violate privacy, simply aggregate inflows into the account over the year and aggregate outflows. That would really help the IRS target their auditing resources.”
However, Taxpayers’ Protection Alliance Vice President of Policy Patrick Hedger blasted the policy: “The IRS is first and foremost a law enforcement agency and the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures in pursuit of looking for wrongdoing and criminal actions, so I think this is going to run into severe Fourth Amendment headwinds.”
More recently, the IRS announced that it would adjust federal income tax brackets and deductions in light of high inflation in the United States. The move is meant to prevent “bracket creep” — the phenomenon of inflation pushing taxpayers into higher income tax brackets or reducing the value of credits, deductions, and exemptions, resulting in higher taxes without higher income.
For individual filers, the brackets are as follows:
Meanwhile, the individual standard deduction rose by $400 — from $12,550 to $12,950. For married couples, the standard deduction rose by $800 — from $25,100 to $25,900.