WASHINGTON — A new and improved IRS.gov debuted this week with a fresh look, enhanced search capabilities and easy access to tools that help taxpayers and tax professionals.
The Internal Revenue Service Web site is one of the most heavily used sites on the Internet during the tax filing season. In fiscal year 2005, there were more than 176 million visits to IRS.gov and 1.2 billion page views. Since IRS.gov first launched in 1996, several updates have occurred to help taxpayers access information more efficiently and quickly.
"These changes should make it even easier to navigate our site and get taxpayers the information they need to file and pay their taxes," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson.
The most noticeable change is a revamped homepage with a fresh color scheme and a new IRS.gov banner logo. There also is a new row of navigation buttons — Individuals, Businesses, Nonprofits and Charities, Tax Professionals and other areas of interest — to take taxpayers directly to key pages.
An improved search function will allow for searches by Keyword or search term. The “Search” feature is more intuitive than formerly. It also provides easy access to the advanced search options and search tips.
Other homepage highlights:
Most Requested Forms and Publications. This section highlights the top five most requested forms and publications across the IRS.gov Web site, based on documents that the public is requesting. This feature will help many users find their desired form with just one click.
Online Tools. This section features several of the most frequently used online tools available on IRS.gov. From filing electronically to determining refund status, check this area for the tools that make taxpayers’ lives easier.
Featured Content. The middle of the home page is reserved for information that is currently important to many users. This is where news headlines will appear.
Information About. This section provides six links to general information accessed by many users. Some of these links were moved from the red header of the current site.
I need to… The “I need to…” drop-down menu gives users quick access to frequently accessed information within a particular content area. For example, one taxpayer may need the option “Start a Business” while another person may need information on “File an Extension.”
Image. The section holds the main image for the homepage.
Promotional Advertisements. This section allows the IRS to bring new programs, information and features on the web site to users’ attention. Viewers can expect to see one or two advertisements in this space.
There also are major changes on each landing page. For example, on the “Individuals” landing page, taxpayers will notice a second level of navigation, beneath the main navigation buttons. This provides easy access to a number of subtopics: employees, farmers, international taxpayers, military, parents, self-employed, seniors and retirees and students.