After a major overhaul of the IRS E-Services login last year, the IRS is set to shake up the authentication and login of E-Services users yet again.
In a QuickAlerts announcement in early May 2022, the IRS stated that they will be moving away from the cumbersome E-Services Secure Access platform and will instead partner with authentication provider ID.me to provide secure login and identity management.
Affected IRS E-Services and Applications
According to the IRS, the following applications will be affected:
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Transmitter Control Code (TCC)
- Application Program Interface (API) Client ID Application
- e-File Application
- Information Returns (IR) for TCC
- Income Verification Express Service (IVES) Application
- State Applications (State EFIN and TDS State)
- TIN Matching, including Bulk and Interactive TIN Matching
- IRS E-Services Transcript Delivery System (TDS)
- Secure Object Repository (SOR)
- Modernized e-File (MeF)
- ACA Information Returns (AIR)
In short, nearly all IRS services will transition over to the new identity provider during the summer.
IRS E-Services Secure Access History
In past years, the IRS implemented a system called Secure Access to verify the identity of filers for select IRS applications. Initially, this started with services like TIN Matching and expanded in scope to cover AIR ACA filing and more.
A major sticking point for many employers in this process was the need to have 2 stakeholders provide personal information and act as a responsible individual for the organization. While this sounds innocuous at first, the verification process proved to be time consuming and required a lot of information from users.
In many cases, the information required for identity validation was so difficult to obtain that some employers had trouble rounding up 2 responsible individuals who could meet all requirements. The technology required for setting up two factor authentication also proved to be incredibly picky as users were required to authenticate with a phone from select providers (like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, but NOT Google Fi, Google Voice, or smaller providers) AND users were required to be the listed as the account holder by the cell phone provider (which could present a problem for family plans and other types of shared cell plans).
Timing for IRS E-Services Migration
If you have a pending Secure Access registration, we recommend completing this process prior to the migration date of June 15, 2022, as you will be unable to finish creating your account and you will be forced to go through the new ID.me registration method. From prior experience, we highly recommend finishing out registration through the existing process as the new process is often fraught with bugs and issues during the initial deployment.
How ID.me SSO Works on IRS E-Services
Any attempt to access a service that implements the new ID.me login system will now show the following screen:
From here, users can login using the old Secure Access method or they can opt to create an ID.me account. Creating an account on ID.me is much simpler than creating a Secure Access account and the user experience is much more polished. The multi factor options are now standardized so that you can use a multi factor authenticator of your choice (like Authy or Google Authenticator), instead of relying on the seldom updated IRS2Go app.
Overall, we’re pleased with the ID.me migration as this has provided a simpler way to access IRS E-services. From an IT standpoint, this is a wise decision by the IRS as this moves them away from attempting to roll their own security mechanisms and instead allows them to rely on a third party whose sole purpose is to provide a secure login interface. Creating, accessing, and validating your account via two factor authentication has been simplified and we think this is a net benefit to e-file providers and tax professionals.
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BoomTax, The Boom Post, and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors prior to engaging in any transaction.