The Internal Revenue Service has inaugurated its new Taxpayer Experience Office and plans are already in the works to expand this new long-term effort to improve service to America’s taxpayers.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Retting sees the startup of the Taxpayer Experience Office as vital for the future of his agency.
“As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it’s critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st century resource for Americans,” Commissioner Rettig said. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”
The new office will shine a spotlight on all the says taxpayers interact with the IRS, with special attention into the service, compliance and other program areas. All the various IRS business units will also be fully involved, working closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Origins of the Taxpayer Experience Office
The new office has its roots in the Taxpayer First Act and its report to Congress, made last year. This report featured input and feedback from a number of taxpayers, tax pros and the tax community at large that helped in turn to develop the Taxpayer Experience Strategy.
The Report to Congress generated a list of over a hundred different programs and tools that could help taxpayers. The list included a “360-degree view” of taxpayer accounts, expanded e-file and payment options, digital signatures, secure two-way messaging and online accounts for businesses and tax professionals.
The Taxpayer Experience Office will drive the agency’s direction into the future, by identifying the key areas the IRS will focus on over the next five years. Commitments in the President’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government are included in these key areas.
“The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people’s lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves,” said Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin.
Corbin also serves as the commissioner of the Wage and Investment division, which oversees the current filing season and other activities.
Navigating the tax-paying experience
The new Taxpayer Experience Office has been tasked with charting the IRS’ way forward by identifying just what taxpayers expect from the agency and the trends within the tax industry. In addition, the new office will determine the best practices for good customer service, develop guidelines on the customer experience the IRS should provide and what taxpayers should reasonably expect from the IRS.
In support of all these projects, the IRS expects to add staff to the Taxpayer Experience Office in coming months.
“Whether checking the status of a tax return, meeting with a revenue agent for an audit, or receiving a tax credit to their bank account, improving service delivery and customer experience are fundamental priorities for us,” Corbin said. “We’re committed to designing and delivering services that better connect with our diverse taxpayer base.”
Detractors and advocates alike would agree there’s plenty of room for improvement for the IRS. The agency’s game plan calls for improvement in customer callbacks, expanding the IRS’s payment options, developing a secure two-way messaging system and providing more services for multilingual taxpayers.