Tax help is about to get better for some.
As part of a longer-term effort to improve taxpayer service, the IRS has officially established the first-ever Taxpayer Experience Office and will soon begin taking additional steps to expand the effort.
“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,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a news release. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”
The Taxpayer Experience Office will focus on all aspects of taxpayer transactions with the IRS across the service, compliance, and other program areas, working in conjunction with all IRS business units and coordinating closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service. The office is part of the effort envisioned in the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress last year. This included input and feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals, and the tax community that helped develop the Taxpayer Experience Strategy. The Report to Congress identified over a hundred different programs and tools that would help taxpayers, including a 360-degree view of taxpayer accounts, expanded e-File and payment options, digital signatures, secure two-way messaging, and online accounts for businesses and tax professionals, the news release added.
To help drive the IRS strategic direction for improving the taxpayer experience, the Taxpayer Experience Office has identified key activities the IRS is focusing on over the next five years, including those commitments outlined in the President’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.
“The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people’s lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves,” said Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin, who also serves as the commissioner of the Wage and Investment division, which oversees the current filing season and other activities in the news release.
The Taxpayer Experience Office will identify changing taxpayer expectations and industry trends, focus on customer service best practices, and promote a consistent voice and experience across all taxpayer segments by developing agency-wide taxpayer experience guidelines and expectations. The office will be adding staff in the coming months to help support the effort.
“Whether checking the status of a tax return, meeting with a revenue agent for an audit, or receiving a tax credit to their bank account, improving service delivery and customer experience are fundamental priorities for us,” Corbin said in the news release. “We’re committed to designing and delivering services that better connect with our diverse taxpayer base.”
Some of the areas of improvement in the near term include expanding customer callback, expanded payment options, secure two-way messaging, and more services for multilingual customers. These activities build on recent improvements such as digital tools to support Economic Impact Payments and the Advance Child Tax Credit, online chat, and online tax professional accounts.