Goal 1 | Service

An icon with two hands shaking each other

Provide quality and accessible services to enhance the taxpayer experience.

The IRS is dedicated to providing an excellent taxpayer experience. We continue to navigate challenges due to insufficient funding, a shrinking workforce, hiring difficulties and reliance on paper processes. We are committed to helping taxpayers of all communities participate in the tax system with ease and confidence. In order to deliver high quality taxpayer service, the IRS will provide the means for all taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations by reducing accessibility barriers such as language, location and financial circumstances. We will inform and educate taxpayers proactively no matter how they engage with our services, whether through traditional or newer digital channels. Over the next five years, we will develop and increase the availability of services and tax products that are easy to use and support the needs of all communities. We strive to deepen our understanding of the taxpayer experience, be responsive to changing needs and continuously enhance taxpayer service by improving access to phone and face-to-face assistance, reducing paper inventory and expanding online options for taxpayers to meet their service needs.

In addition, our commitment to steadfastly safeguarding taxpayer data for a secure experience has become increasingly important. Taxpayer experience, rights, protection and advocacy will be strengthened as we invest in the technology necessary to optimize and secure all taxpayer interactions.

Graphic with text reading: Four of the top 5 IRS Services. Most Important to taxpayers are Digital Services

Trends and Challenges

Growing Underserved Community Populations

Many historically underserved community populations are growing, yet still do not receive the same resources and opportunities as other communities. Minority and immigrant communities, taxpayers with disabilities, Native American communities, the elderly, the unhoused and veterans are some of those in need of additional equitable support.

More than 20% of U.S. Residents report speaking a language other than English at home

The IRS needs to engage with more segments of the population, like those with limited English proficiency (LEP), that face unique challenges in accessing the information, forms or services they need. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced availability of face-to-face opportunities to engage with these communities. These challenges not only make it harder for underserved populations to comply with their tax obligations, but also makes them less likely to receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Our efforts will build trust and confidence in the IRS among underserved populations, increase our emphasis on fairness, expand access to information and services and increase voluntary compliance.

Increasing Preference For Digital Services

Taxpayers and practitioners increasingly expect more online government services that incorporate new interactive features, like chatbots and personalized online applications, similar to those provided by banks and other private sector organizations. The FY2020 Taxpayer Experience Survey indicates 86% of taxpayers surveyed are aware of IRS.gov as a channel for digital services. The IRS is providing more digital options to meet taxpayer expectations around accessibility and availability of digital services. We will balance these digital updates while continuing to serve taxpayers who prefer service via phone, paper, or face-to-face communication and other taxpayers who are unable to meet the security measures required for digital access. Taking proactive measures to understand taxpayer behavior and preferences makes it easier to meet taxpayers where they are and for them to voluntarily comply.

Objectives & Strategies

Deliver Secure and Customized Services

Objective 1.1: Deliver secure and customized services to meet taxpayer needs.

Taxpayers rely on digital services and communication channels to find answers to questions and understand the status of important filings or payments. They expect seamless, personalized and secure IRS services. We need to analyze and better understand taxpayer needs to provide them with customized services and to help them meet their tax obligations. We will continuously invest in useful tools like secure messaging to make service more responsive, efficient and effective.

Strategy 1.1.1: Expand and promote digital services, including online accounts, and digital filing capabilities, to improve taxpayer self-service.

Strategy 1.1.2: Integrate all service channels to improve access, streamline issue resolution and empower employees to meet taxpayer needs.

Strategy 1.1.3: Apply advanced analytics to develop a clear understanding of taxpayer needs and preferences to provide personalized experiences.

Strategy 1.1.4: Promptly and accurately facilitate benefit payments and services to support economic growth and recovery.

Address the Needs of the Underserved

Objective 1.2: Identify and address the needs of underserved and multilingual communities to improve their ability to participate in the tax system.

The IRS is developing accessible services for all communities, including underserved groups and those with LEP. We will do this by building upon our longstanding and successful partnerships and seeking new partners to innovatively engage with these communities. The American taxpayer population is becoming more diverse, as evidenced by the 2020 U.S. Census. Enhancing existing resources and programs, like tax clinics, can help lessen the burdens populations like these can face.

Strategy 1.2.1: Collaborate with stakeholders and expand our community presence to support the unique needs of underserved communities.

Strategy 1.2.2: Provide taxpayers with limited English proficiency and/ or disabilities meaningful access to the tools, knowledge and resources necessary to fulfill their tax obligations.

Strategy 1.2.3: Expand the accessibility of IRS resources and services for international taxpayers.

Provide Proactive Outreach & Education

Objective 1.3: Provide proactive outreach and education to improve taxpayer understanding of their rights, responsibilities and obligations.

The IRS must proactively communicate to meet taxpayers where they are. We must provide plain language and tailored messaging throughout the year at each stage of the tax lifecycle—prior to filing through receiving returns and preparing for the next year. This also includes engaging more with taxpayers on both traditional and digital channels they regularly use, from phone and paper-based communications to social media and IRS.gov online accounts. From FY2020–2021, the IRS saw a 35% growth in social media followers across all of its platforms. We also promote engagement with two-way communication, like offering telephone call back service and online chat.

Strategy 1.3.1: Increase digital communications, while maintaining traditional channels, to help ensure taxpayers have the information necessary to comply with their obligations and understand their rights.

Strategy 1.3.2: Develop easy-to-understand tax products and correspondence for effective taxpayer messaging.

Strategy 1.3.3: Enhance our social media strategy to effectively communicate with taxpayers.

Protect Taxpayer Data

Objective 1.4: Safeguard taxpayer data and privacy and protect the IRS against internal and external threats.

We will continue to prioritize the protection of taxpayer data when creating personalized services and digital tools, such as through the Secure Access Digital Identity Initiative, especially in a world where cybercrime is so prevalent. We will also continue to bolster efforts to mitigate the risks of inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information.

Strategy 1.4.1: Prioritize taxpayer rights and security as foundational to every program, process and system.

Strategy 1.4.2: Proactively identify, mitigate and manage internal and external risks.

Strategy 1.4.3: Design services that optimize the ease of access to digital taxpayer applications while preserving the security and integrity of taxpayer data.

 

Taxpayer Experience

To create proactive, convenient, seamless and effective interactions for taxpayers and stakeholders, the IRS developed the Taxpayer Experience Strategy Roadmap based on six focus areas:

  • Expanding Digital Services

  • Providing a Seamless Experience

  • Proactive Outreach and Education

  • Expanding Partnerships

  • Continuing to Improve Service to Underserved Communities

  • Improving Data Management and Analytics

The Taxpayer Experience Office was created to ensure an enterprise-wide focus on improving the taxpayer experience.

Multilingual Strategy

Examples of IRS advancements to support LEP taxpayers include:

  • access to over-the-phone interpreter services in more than 350 languages
  • new contact language options on the Form 1040
  • new physical and digital publications for information and outreach available in multiple languages

The agency will build upon this progress through implementation of our Multilingual Strategy.

A graphic with a picture of a phone receiver and various characters coming out of it.

Social Media Expansion

The Social Media Strategy includes the expansion of IRS's presence across social media platforms and increases the number of languages in which we share IRS news and tailored educational updates based on demographics. These images show examples of communications in Haitian Creole, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

Social Media Icons
A screenshot of a social media graphic from Twitter
A screenshot of a social media graphic in Spanish
A social media image depicting a tweet in Chinese

 

Goal 1: Measuring Success

Progress and success of our Service Goal will be supported by measures, including but not limited to:

  • Enterprise Self-Assistance Participation Rate: Measures the percentage of taxpayer assistance requests resolved using self-assisted automated services.
  • Enterprise Level of Service: Measures the success rate of taxpayers that call an IRS toll-free phone line seeking assistance.