The Internal Revenue Service has a long and problematic history of keeping your personal information safe and secure from hackers, leakers, and assorted mischief makers.

Which made the agency’s mandate that taxpayers use facial ID to access their accounts truly bizarre.

As Brian Krebs writes:

The agency says that by the summer of 2022, the only way to log in to will be through, an online identity verification service that requires applicants to submit copies of bills and identity documents, as well as a live video feed of their faces via a mobile device.

And what kind of information are we talking about?

The service requires applicants to supply a great deal more information than typically requested for online verification schemes, such as scans of their driver’s license or other government-issued ID, copies of utility or insurance bills, and details about their mobile phone service.

When an applicant doesn’t have one or more of the above — or if something about their application triggers potential fraud flags — may require a recorded, live video chat with the person applying for benefits.

What could possibly go wrong with this? Plenty, as Krebs details in his report. But his bottom line is this:

Love it or hate it, is likely to become one of those places where Americans need to plant their flag and mark their territory, if for no other reason than it will probably be needed at some point to manage your relationship with the federal government and/or your state. And given the potential time investment needed to successfully create an account, it might be a good idea to do that before you’re forced to do so at the last minute (such as waiting until the eleventh hour to pay your quarterly or annual estimated taxes).

Perhaps. But it turns out no one outside the IRS and its vendors agreed, as the agency abruptly shut the facial recognition system down:

The IRS said…it would “transition away” from using the company for new accounts “over the coming weeks” and would develop an additional authentication process that does not involve facial recognition.

“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” IRS commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement. “Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly pursuing short-term options that do not involve facial recognition.”

Every now and then, even the tax man gets it right.