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Virtual Identification

Mary SASLLC
Level 2

Hi There,

I have a Question, Since COVID started, I have switched from meeting with clients face to face to discuss the tax situation. I now do everything virtually, now my question is: for Identification purposes, especially for New clients, How do i make sure they are who they say they are, Can I have the new clients upload the pictures of their Valid GOVT issued photo ID via a secured link and discuss with them virtually? would this be sufficient enough? Also, What does the IRS say about obtaining ID for new clients during this COVID season, is the IRS against Virtual photo id without seeing it physically? can anyone help please, also how have you bee coping with the new norm wit regard to tax preparation as well? 

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
BobKamman
Level 13

What’s interesting is that IRS doesn’t seem to have any requirements for its own agents or officers to verify taxpayer identity. In fact, in many cases the taxpayer is never seen or heard; the contact is with a practitioner proffering a Form 2848, and the practitioner isn’t asked for identity documents either. Just another case of “do as we say, not as we do.”

The instructions in Pub 1345 seem mostly directed at the problem of e-filing for undocumented workers who give a phony SSN to employers, but then file a return using a valid ITIN. Your question can be answered with another one: Are you planning to e-file the return? If not, the IRS doesn’t seem to care. I think that’s how Money magazine, for many years, got away with “shopping” the same set of facts to various preparers and coming up with various answers, all of which were wrong.

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4 Replies 4
itonewbie
Level 15

The minimum requirements for validating a new client's identity and TIN are outlined under "Verifying Taxpayer Identity and Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs)" on p.13 of Pub 1345.  You may also like to refer to the instructions of W-7 for documents that are acceptable to the IRS for verification of taxpayer identity.

Some preparer may decide that they would do a short video conference with a new taxpayer to put a face to a name, so to speak.

 

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Still an AllStar
Mary SASLLC
Level 2

Thank you for your swift response, I did see the p.13 of Pub 1345. however I was still a little confused because they did not specify. I am glad that I am able to see other preparers view regarding this and it gives me more insight on how to handle the situation. This was very helpful thank you.

BobKamman
Level 13

What’s interesting is that IRS doesn’t seem to have any requirements for its own agents or officers to verify taxpayer identity. In fact, in many cases the taxpayer is never seen or heard; the contact is with a practitioner proffering a Form 2848, and the practitioner isn’t asked for identity documents either. Just another case of “do as we say, not as we do.”

The instructions in Pub 1345 seem mostly directed at the problem of e-filing for undocumented workers who give a phony SSN to employers, but then file a return using a valid ITIN. Your question can be answered with another one: Are you planning to e-file the return? If not, the IRS doesn’t seem to care. I think that’s how Money magazine, for many years, got away with “shopping” the same set of facts to various preparers and coming up with various answers, all of which were wrong.

View solution in original post

Mary SASLLC
Level 2

This was very helpful, thank you.