*Since the publication of Advancing E-file Study Phase 1 and Phase 2, Congress has enacted a law that requires many tax preparers and tax firms to use IRS e-file for individual, trust and estate returns. Starting January 1, 2011, preparers or their firms that anticipate filing 100 or more returns must use e-file. Starting January 1, 2012, preparers or their firms that anticipate filing 11 or more returns must use e-file.
The Advancing E-file Study Phase 1 Report
The Advancing E-file Study Phase 1 Report reflects a major effort to synthesize and analyze all substantial data on the IRS e-file program in one document to help the IRS validate and launch future studies, research, and other activities to meet the goal set by Congress that 80% of individual Federal income tax returns be filed electronically.
Key Findings from the Phase 1 report included:
- There is no silver bullet. An advancing e-file strategy must take into consideration many complex factors, and there is no quick fix or any single option approach for the IRS to convert remaining paper filers.
- The IRS cannot meet the goal without help. The multifaceted landscape of the US tax system requires that the IRS rely on strong partnerships with third party partners, stakeholders, and Congress to advance e-file.
- Technology is secondary to motivating behavior. Even the most innovative technology will not help the IRS achieve the 80% e-file goal unless it is grounded in a thorough understanding of the intricacies of filer behavior — their motivators, concerns, and relative positions on the technology adoption curve.
The Advancing E-file Study Phase 2 Report
With the Advancing E-file Study Phase 2 Report, the IRS has taken the second step toward defining a strategy and set of options to achieve the 80% e-file goal.
Key findings from the Phase 2 report include:
- Few of the AES2 Options will produce a significant gain in e-file adoption.
- Substantial investments in technology, management, and organizational capability are required for the IRS to assume new roles in tax preparation and submission.
- Efforts to advance e-file must consider the entire tax return preparation and submission experience and evaluate changes in the tax landscape.