Many do not find anything exciting about paying taxes, as complicated processes pose several hassles for taxpayers. However, as the adage goes, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” so making the experience as pleasant as possible may encourage more people to honor their tax-paying duties.
Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created the Taxpayer Experience Office. This new initiative aims to give taxpayers a more pleasant experience when handling tax matters with the agency.
If you’re eager to learn more about the IRS’s new initiative, this infographic is for you. It will extensively discuss the functions of the newly opened office and how it improves IRS customer service.
Fast Facts and Figures
To understand why the Taxpayer Experience Office was created in the first place, let’s look at some data from the IRS that reveals the plight of the average taxpayer. (Note: All data below are from the Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey 2021.)
- According to a 2021 survey, only 75% of taxpayers were satisfied with their interactions with the IRS, a 3% dip from 2020.
- 86% of taxpayers agree that more people will be able to file their returns correctly with added guidance and information from the IRS.
- 14% of taxpayers completely disagree that the IRS helps them understand their tax obligations, an increase of 4% from 2020.
- Taxpayers’ trust in the IRS fairly enforcing tax laws decreased, from 72% in 2020 to 66%—the lowest percentage since 2014.
- Trust in the IRS to keep taxpayers’ account records safe from cyber criminals decreased from 75% to 71%.
- Similar to previous years, 88% of taxpayers agree that the revenue service should focus on improving phone calls and in-person assistance.
- 11% of taxpayers feel that the IRS allocates too much of its resources to improve customer service. In comparison, 39% claim the IRS properly distributes its resources between enforcement activities and customer service programs.
As you can see from these figures, U.S. taxpayers encounter different challenges regarding tax compliance. Recognizing that there’s a need for a dedicated program to address these issues, the IRS established the Taxpayer Experience Office.
What is the Taxpayer Experience Office?
The Taxpayer Experience Office was established to address customer service issues within the IRS and provide more timely assistance to American taxpayers. Its focus extends to all facets of IRS customer service like transactions, compliance, and relevant programs, in partnership with the and the rest of IRS business units.
In addition, the IRS envisions continued support from the Tax Experience Office by monitoring industry changes and taxpayer expectations. Staffing will be vital in making these goals a reality, and the IRS plans to hire reliable employees to reinforce its workforce.
The establishment of the office shows the IRS’s commitment to enhancing its various tax-related processes so taxpayers can expect a better experience.
“As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it’s critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st century resource for Americans,” stated IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
He concluded his statement by saying what he hopes the IRS taxpayer assistance office can achieve. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”
What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
Established in 1996, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is an autonomous organization under the IRS tasked to help tax-paying individuals and businesses with tax-related problems that remain unresolved through conventional IRS channels.
The organization helps taxpayers resolve their issues and recommends changes to the IRS to mitigate or prevent specific tax-related problems from happening again.
Together, TAS and the Taxpayer Experience Office will coordinate to improve taxpayer transactions across the board.
The 6 Key Priorities of the Taxpayer Experience Office
The IRS established the Taxpayer Experience Office to create a seamless and personalized experience for taxpayers. The office’s specific priorities support this vision.
1. Expanded Digital Services
With the increasing digitalization of government-related processes, the IRS aims to follow suit by implementing digital filing, offering more payment modes, establishing online portals, and enhancing taxpayers’ online and mobile experiences.
The decision to expand digital service is based on the agency’s findings that using self-service channels and plain language increases voluntary compliance and lessens phone calls. Through expanded digital services, you’ll have complete access to tax-related services from the IRS.
2. Seamless Experience
Another priority of the office is to lead taxpayers to the correct information and communication channels when resolving their tax issues. Here, the goal is to increase organizational awareness, expedite queue times, and make taxpayer services efficient.
As such, the IRS will integrate websites, phone calls, in-person inquiries, and other forms of communication into the taxpayer experience. The IRS plans to implement a seamless experience by empowering and training its employees to resolve taxpayer issues promptly using relevant resources or endorsing the situation to another IRS employee.
3. Proactive Outreach and Education
Taxpayers should be able to communicate whenever it’s convenient for them using the language and communication channel they prefer. For its part, the IRS can provide better information by analyzing behavioral data, utilizing trusted partnerships, implementing the latest technology, and optimizing its social media strategy.
The IRS believes in actively educating taxpayers to increase their confidence in meeting tax obligations and reducing compliance issues. Plus, a proactive outreach strategy will enable taxpayers to resolve problems immediately before incurring interest and penalty fees.
4. Community of Partners
One of the taxpayer experience program’s biggest goals is establishing a community of trusted partners. Everyone can benefit from having easy access to trusted partners since the community becomes a venue for sharing best practices, perspectives, and approaches when working with different customer segments.
5. Focused Strategies for Reaching Underserved Communities
The IRS is aware some taxpayers encounter unique challenges in securing information and services necessary to make them tax compliant. It’s the agency’s goal to better engage with these underserved communities by utilizing strategies that improve overall taxpayer participation.
For instance, to cater to non-English speakers, the Taxpayer Experience Office will customize its strategy using their native language.
6. Enterprise Data Management and Advanced Analytics
The IRS will incorporate enterprise data management and advanced analytics into its processes to and to better understand taxpayer behavior.
With advanced data analytics, the IRS can identify aspects that need optimization to improve the taxpayer experience while reducing operational costs.
A Step in the Right Direction
The IRS has had its fair share of shortcomings regarding the service it provides U.S. taxpayers. However, the agency wants to improve things, leading to the establishment of the Taxpayer Experience Office. With its creation, the IRS has taken a step forward to be a more customer-oriented office that taxpayers want to interact with.
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