How To

How to set up your IRS account with ID.me. Everything you need to know

The ID.me identity verification service works with the IRS, Social Security and many state agencies.


ID.me

In the past year, the IRS has added new online services for taxpayers, including ways to manage your child tax credit advance payments and print tax records immediately. To access IRS online services for the 2022 tax season, however, you’ll need to create an account with ID.me, a third-party service with an exhaustive registration process.

ID.me confirms your identification to reduce fraud and protect your identity across government services. Once your identity has been verified by ID.me, you can access any federal or state government portal that uses the service, including Social Security, Veterans Affairs and many state agencies.

Creating an ID.me account with the IRS provides several benefits — you can make or schedule payments, view and print tax records and manage online authorization requests from tax professionals. The ID.me IRS account was primarily used in 2021 by recipients of advance child tax credit payments, who could use it to enroll or unenroll in the advance payment program and to monitor their payments.

We’ll explain how to set up an ID.me account — which requires personal documents, a video selfie and a few more hoops to jump through — as well as what to do if ID.me fails to verify your identity. For more, learn how the advance child tax credit checks could impact your taxes in 2022 and how you can get a bigger tax refund this year due to the expanded child care tax credit.

What is ID.me?

ID.me is an “identity proofing” company created originally in 2010 to support the military in verifying identity of service members. It was approved by the federal government as a “credential service provider” in 2014 and has since been used by a number of government agencies to verify US citizens’ identities.

The IRS launched a pilot program for ID.me in 2017 and has expanded the service greatly since. 

What is ID.me used for?

Along with verifying identity for the IRS, ID.me is used by 27 states, more than 500 retailers and other federal agencies such as Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs. Once you have confirmed your identity with ID.me, you will have access to all of the state and federal online services that use it.

States Current Using ID.me Verification

Arizona California Colorado Delaware Florida
Georgia Idaho Indiana Kentucky Louisiana
Maine  Massachusetts Mississippi Missouri Montana
Nevada New Jersey New York North Carolina North Dakota
Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Texas Virginia
Washington Wyoming

Why do I need to create an ID.me account? 

An ID.me account is currently required to create a new online IRS account. If you have an IRS account name and password that you created before ID.me was implemented, that account will still work until summer 2022. The IRS has not given a specific date for when the old accounts must be converted over to ID.me accounts.

The IRS was originally using ID.me verification solely for its child tax credit tools but has since expanded its online services to include viewing and printing online transcripts, making tax payments and applying for payment plans, monitoring Economic Impact Payments like stimulus checks and requesting Identity Protection PINs.

Although the advance child tax credit payments for 2021 have ended for now and the future of the program is uncertain, you can still check your eligibility for the program, your enrollment status and the amount and number of checks you have received via the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

How do I sign up for an ID.me account?

Before you get started with ID.me, you’ll need the following:

  • Your Social Security number (you do not need the physical card)
  • A driver’s license, US passport, or US passport card 
  • A phone or computer with a camera

1. Visit the “Your Online Acccount” page on the IRS website and click the button marked Sign into your online account. You’ll be given the option of creating a new ID.me account or signing in to an existing account. Click the white ID.me Create an account button to start the registration process.

2. Next, enter your email address and choose a strong password. ID.me requires that passwords be eight characters or longer with at least one capital letter, one lowercase letter and a number. Confirm your password, click the check box to accept ID.me’s terms and conditions and then click Create account.

3. ID.me will then send you a message to confirm your email address. Check your inbox for an email from ID.me, then click on the blue Confirm your email button in the message. Return to your browser.

4. Next you’ll need to enable multifactor authentication (MFA) — a second step to prove it’s actually you each time you sign in with your ID.me password. Most people will probably opt for a text message or phone call to their mobile phones. After selecting your MFA option, enter the six-digit code sent to you by ID.me and click Continue. You’ll need to use this step every time you log in to your online IRS account.

5. Now you’ll need to add pictures of your photo ID. You can upload photos or take pictures with your phone. You’ll need to choose one of three acceptable ID options: US passport book, state driver’s license, or US passport card. Upload pictures of both the front and back of your driver’s license or passport. If you’d like to take new pictures of your document with your phone, enter your phone number and ID.me will send you a link.

6. After uploading your document, you’ll need to take and upload a video selfie with your phone or computer camera. If you want to use your webcam, click the white Take a selfie with my webcam button. If you want to use your phone, click the blue Take a selfie with my phone button and enter your phone number and ID.me will text you a message with a link.

7. When taking your video selfie, be sure to position your phone in portrait mode and move your head very close to the camera. The background will flash different colors as it scans your face. When you see a green checkmark, your video selfie is complete. Click Continue and return to your original browser window.

8. Next confirm your Social Security number by entering it and clicking Continue. 

9. ID.me will now present a summary of your personal information, including name, address and phone number. Confirm that everything is correct, check the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” check box and click Continue.

10. After confirming your identity, ID.me will send you a text message asking you to explicitly allow the IRS access. Although you won’t need to register with ID.me again, you will need to “allow” every service you want to use it with, such as Social Security or VA.

11. Click Allow and continue on the ID.me message to send verification to the IRS.

12. Your IRS online account is now complete and active. The IRS logs you out of your account fairly quickly, so you’ll likely need to visit the Your Online Acccount page to log in (with MFA) each time you want to use your IRS online account.


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What if I can’t verify my identity with ID.me?

If ID.me can’t verify your identification through its standard registration process, it will refer your case to a “Trusted Referee,” a live person who will review your application online via video call. The video call will require a bit more documentation — either two primary identification documents or one primary document and two supplementary documents. The full list of acceptable documentation can be found on the ID.me website.

Many cases of people unable to complete verification with ID.me while trying to access their unemployment benefits made news in 2021. Several politicians blamed errors in the company’s facial-recognition software for lengthy delays in delivering unemployment benefits to recipients. In early 2021, wait times for video calls with Trusted Referees were reported at 3 to 6 hours or sometimes up to multiple days.

In an August 2021 interview with Notes on the Crises, ID.me CEO Blake Hall claimed that current waiting times for Trusted Referee video calls “have been consistently under 30 minutes for the past month and are currently in the single digits.” Hall blamed the delays in early 2021 on states sending ID.me massive case backlogs all at once. 

Several people attempting to register with ID.me have also reported an error code 2001 after completing the process to create an online IRS account, with the message, “A condition has been identified that’s preventing your access to this service.” Some users report that the issue resolved with time, and the IRS has addressed the question on its website: 

After verifying your identity, you may see an IRS message saying that “A condition has been identified that’s preventing your access to this service.” If you see this message, please try to sign in again later.

If you continuously receive this message, this means that you won’t be able to use the online service. Select the “view your alternatives” button on the error page to learn about alternatives for completing your transaction.

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