The IRS’s Continued Efforts to Improve Service to Diverse Communities IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig shares efforts to expand the services we offer in multiple languages and to help people from diverse communities meet their tax obligations. By Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner CL-22-09, June 30, 2022 Since joining the IRS, one of our top priorities has been to ensure we do our best to enhance services to the many diverse communities that comprise our great nation. Growing up in California as the child of a German immigrant, I have long been well aware how the United States has been enriched and benefits through the interactions of many people from different cultures. I’ve also learned from the experiences of my wife and her family, who came to the United States as refugees, first-generation immigrants from Vietnam. We are stronger together, respecting and valuing the important life experiences and contributions of everyone. These experiences support my vision and desire for us to provide meaningful services on behalf of all people. Wherever possible, it’s important to interact with people in the language of their choice and in their community through IRS employees who share similar life experiences. Taxes can be challenging in any language. Over the course of the past few years, during the pandemic, IRS employees have demonstrated our respect for all people by successfully expanding our outreach into multiple languages and in historically underserved communities across the country. We have made a significant difference in the lives of millions of people. To help taxpayers, we’ve taken important steps since 2021 to expand services we offer in multiple languages, including: Providing Form 1040 in Spanish for the first time during the 2021 filing season. Giving taxpayers the opportunity to indicate they want to be contacted by us in writing in a language other than English by using a new Schedule LEP (Limited English Proficiency). Making our cornerstone Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, available in 20 languages. Issuing a new, streamlined version of Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, in seven languages to help people get an overview of tax issues affecting their returns. Expanding interpretative services on our toll-free lines to more than 350 languages. I’m proud to say our efforts have continued this year with even more enhancements to help people from diverse communities meet their tax obligations. These efforts include: The conversion of 34 Spanish notice inserts into Braille, text, audio and large print as of January 2022. The conversion of Form 1040 and its main schedules, as well as Form 1040 NR, Form 1040 SR, Form W-4 and six publications into Spanish Braille, text and large print. Working to increase our communications and outreach materials in additional languages, including information shared on social media channels. Developing a multilingual notice strategy to translate and issue 20 of the most frequently issued notices in the 5 most frequently used languages (Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian). This effort will begin in 2023 and will continue through 2027. To ensure taxpayers can easily provide their alternative media preferences, we also released a new Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference, this filing season. Form 9000 allows taxpayers to tell us if they want to systemically receive correspondence in Braille, large print, audio or text. It can be filed as a stand-alone form, with a Form 1040 or by calling the IRS toll-free assistance line (800-829-1040). Since launching the Alternative Media Improvement Initiative (AMII) on January 31, 2022, the AMII Notice team has processed 658 notices (seven Braille, two Braille Ready Files (BRF), 20 audio, and 206 plain text and 423 large print) and our new Accessibility Helpline has processed hundreds of contacts from taxpayers. We interact with more Americans than any other organization and, clearly, we need to do more. We earn their respect by continuing our focus on improving their taxpayer experience, operating in languages they are most comfortable as well as in Braille, text, audio and large print. We must also be present in their communities and respect their life experiences. First, we’re pursuing efforts to translate website applications and have already identified 17 of the most frequently used IRS.gov applications for translation into additional languages. Translating each web application into all available languages and formats immediately would be extremely difficult due to the additional coding and resource investments necessary, so we’re prioritizing our approach. Fortunately, the multilingual initiatives that preceded the application translations have given the IRS the opportunity to study language usage patterns among taxpayers who use IRS.gov. This data will help us prioritize applications and languages to meet the greatest areas of need as soon as possible. Second, we’re exploring opportunities to employ machine translation to help us add more multilingual content to IRS.gov. Automated translation of languages remains a significant challenge, even for the most sophisticated software. The level of complexity of tax terms and the need for surrounding context means that automated translation tools need to be carefully evaluated to ensure that translations reach a consistently acceptable level of accuracy for users of the translated content. We anticipate this effort will take more time as we evaluate automated translation tools with the goal of eventually deploying them. As we continue to make improvements, we’re also assessing the work we’ve already done and so far, we are encouraged by the results. We know that taxpayers have responded to our efforts through data points we’re monitoring. For example, during calendar year 2021, we received approximately 326,000 Schedule LEPs filed with taxpayers’ Forms 1040 letting us know what language they prefer to receive IRS communications. Additionally, last year there were nearly 90 million visits to non-English pages on IRS.gov, and about 27.2 million visits through June 24 of this year. More work remains, but we’re proud of the progress accomplished this far. Providing meaningful services to underserved populations will forever continue to be among our highest priorities. Our employees have been amazing in identifying and passionately pursuing meaningful projects respecting and helping our diverse communities. It’s something I – along with my family – will proudly remember forever. I’m honored to support you as we continue to pursue these efforts helping and respecting millions of historically underserved communities in the future. About the Author Chuck Rettig is the 49th Commissioner of the IRS. As Commissioner, Rettig presides over the nation’s tax system, which collects more than $3.5 trillion in tax revenue each year. This revenue funds most government operations and public services. He manages an agency of about 80,000 employees and a budget of approximately $11 billion. In leading the IRS, Rettig is focused on improving service to the nation’s taxpayers, balancing appropriate enforcement of the nation’s tax laws while respecting taxpayer rights. Related Content Languages IRS provides more forms, letters and publications in multilingual and alternative formats: Spanish Braille now available Accessible Forms & Publications Taxpayers can find tax help in several languages on IRS.gov IRS Tax Help for People with DisabilitiesTranscript ASL A Closer Look Read all our posts about a variety of timely issues of interest to taxpayers and the tax community Subscribe The IRS offers several e-News subscriptions on a variety of tax topics. Subscribe to get email alerts when new content is posted.