Collaborate with External Partners Proactively to Improve Tax Administration

Partnerships with our stakeholders enrich service to taxpayers. Collaboration will yield innovative solutions to pressing problems, improving the taxpayer experience. We will engage partners to improve service and outreach to taxpayers, enhance global collaboration and share leading practices.

We are committed to strengthening and expanding our partnerships, maintaining open lines of communication with stakeholders and engaging them as collaborators. The IRS is part of a community that includes a variety of stakeholders invested in and affected by tax administration. We also work with partners beyond the traditional tax community — including government entities (international, federal, state, local and tribal), the private sector, universities and volunteer organizations as we deliver our mission.

Joint efforts help us find innovative solutions, tackle common challenges and enhance our ability to serve taxpayers and operate efficiently. The IRS coordinates with law enforcement agencies in pursuit of tax criminals, co-locates taxpayer service centers with other government agencies for cost savings and taxpayer convenience, works with third-party preparers and vendors regarding the administration of major tax code changes and looks to the private sector to share leading practices.

The feedback we receive from our partners gives us an important perspective on how our programs are working and where they could be improved. As we enhance the ways we collaborate with partners, we will continue to maintain accountability, holding our partners to the highest standards and safeguarding taxpayers’ rights to privacy and confidentiality.

Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), IRS certified volunteers prepared 3.6 million federal tax returns for eligible taxpayers. This information is based on data for FY2017.

Objectives and Supporting Activities

  • Work with partners to communicate service changes and promote adoption of efficient service options.

  • Incorporate insights from partners into IRS service and outreach channels.

  • Deliver training to external service providers who partner with the IRS.

  • Enhance monitoring of the tax ecosystem to combat abusive behavior.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). LITCs are a matching federal grant program that provides up to $100,000 annually to organizations that provide services to low-income taxpayers or taxpayers whose second language is English. In 2016, 1,800 volunteers provided 47,480 hours of service at LITCs. $11.8 million in grants were provided to 138 grantees in 2017.

  • Expand the use of interagency and private sector working groups to collaborate on areas of mutual interest, building on successes like the Security Summit.

  • Consult with the private sector to integrate industry-leading practices into IRS operations, particularly around customer service, analytics and cybersecurity.

  • Collaborate with other government entities to identify efficiencies around data sharing, security and facilities management.

Security Summit Results. Building on the success of fiscal year 2015, the Security Summit, a partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies and private-sector industry leaders, contributed to a decline in taxpayers claiming to be victims of identity theft.  There has been a 64% decrease in taxpayer-reported identity theft from 2015-2017.

  • Respond to changes in the global tax environment to improve international tax compliance.

  • Coordinate with foreign tax administrations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to measure and enhance the effectiveness of data shared between jurisdictions.

  • Conduct, plan and convene international engagements on promoting sound global tax administration, including protecting taxpayer rights.

Measuring Success

Progress Towards Enhanced Partnership Strategy – Meeting key milestones in the IRS’s ability to both maintain and create new partnerships with external stakeholders (e.g., tax preparer community, international compliance/cyber security experts, other government agencies) to help the agency be responsive to outside perspectives concerning how to:

  • Respond to and implement new legislative requirements,
  • Improve taxpayer service,
  • Protect the tax system and taxpayer data and
  • Efficiently use taxpayer resources.

Trends and Challenges

Managing Global Tax Cooperation

The IRS faces a business environment that is becoming more global, dynamic and digital.1 Complexity and change in the international environment require that the IRS collaborate with tax administrations in foreign countries to enforce compliance. As the passage of agreements with other countries shows, there is a desire to cooperate through a reciprocal approach to sharing information and enforcing international tax law.2 Continued IRS leadership in international efforts focused on global tax cooperation and tax administration practices can prevent and resolve disputes among countries and increase certainty for taxpayers.

IRS International Partnerships. As of February 2018, the US has 43 active or pending country-by-country reporting agreements around the globe. Pending reporting agreements include only the countries that have consented to an agreement. A visual map depicts each of these countries, which include Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


Back to Top


1. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, "Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Internal Revenue Service for Fiscal Year 2017," 6 October 2016.

2. Joanna Heiberg, "FATCA:  Toward a Multilateral Automatic Information Reporting Regime," 69 Wash. & Lee L. Review 1685, 2012, FATCA: Toward a Multilateral Automatic Information Reporting Regime.

Collaborate Circle Graphic  with Hand Shaking Icon