IRS expands secure digital correspondence for taxpayers

FS-2023-05, Feb. 2023

The Internal Revenue Service is applying technology to provide a more efficient way for taxpayers or their tax professional to submit requested documentation online instead of mailing it to the IRS.

To help people understand this new feature, the IRS is providing additional details about this important new time-saving initiative.

The IRS Document Upload Tool enables digital correspondence with the taxpayer by providing a URL and a time-limited unique access code to a specific taxpayer so they can upload their documents to the IRS. Access originates with the IRS, and it isn't available for certain documents, such as those requiring physical signatures.

Nine notices added to project; more to come

In early 2023, the IRS began including online correspondence as an option on nine of the CP series notices, potentially affecting more than 500,000 taxpayers each year. Taxpayers who receive one of the following notices with the link and access code can choose to upload their documents:

  • CP04, relating to combat zone status.
  • CP05A, information request related to a refund.
  • CP06 and CP06A, relating to the Premium Tax Credit.
  • CP08, relating to the Child Tax Credit.
  • CP09, relating to claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • CP75, relating to the EITC.
  • CP75A, relating to the EITC.
  • CP75D, relating to the EITC and other credits.

In addition, the IRS has identified 53 other notices that could be appropriate for this type of secure digital communications. The IRS will be assessing the viability of including these notice as well as l continuing to look for additional suitable notices to provide this online feature.

How the process works

Language on the notice informs the taxpayer to, "Send us your documents using the Documentation Upload Tool within 30 days from the date of this notice." It includes the link and a unique access code.

  • The taxpayer can open the link in any browser and then input their unique code, their first and last name and their Social Security number, Individual Taxpayer Identification or Employee Identification number.
  • The taxpayer can then securely upload scans, photos or digital copies of documents (maximum of 15MB per file, up to 40 files).
  • The taxpayer receives a confirmation that the IRS received their documents, and the IRS employee assigned the case can manage the transmitted documents.

Benefits for taxpayers, tax administration

The ability for taxpayers to securely communicate with the IRS reduces their correspondence burden, supports tax compliance and provides a means for immediate documentation delivery to the IRS. This aligns with the IRS's focus on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights by providing quality service in a timely manner and enhancing a taxpayer's right to be informed throughout any IRS processes.

For IRS employees, the Documentation Upload Tool reduces paper correspondence received and helps decrease processing time responding to taxpayer documentation, creating efficiency that helps the taxpayer.

How the tool works

The IRS initiates taxpayer digital access by sending a notice with a link and unique access code.

Taxpayers must use the provided link, input the 10-digit alphanumeric code and provide their first and last name and one of these:

  • Social Security number
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification number
  • Employee Identification number

They may then upload scans, photos or digital copies in JPEG, PNG or PDF format, with a maximum file size of 15 MB per file. The taxpayer may upload up to 40 JPEGs, PNGs or PDFs, with the latter limited to 120 pages, each.

The taxpayer's documents are available to the IRS employee assigned to the case and remain available indefinitely until the employee retrieves them, at which time they're archived for 180 days and then deleted from the system.

Future plans

The IRS plans to expand this capability to additional notices and to live interactions with taxpayers, including those over the phone and in person. The goal is for IRS employees who have direct contact with taxpayers to be able to offer secure digital communications as an option wherever possible.