Published July 17, 2023 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stepped up its game and provided an exceptional level of service during the 2023 filing season, all thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. This is a game-changer for taxpayers across the country. With an impressive 87% level of service, the IRS has gone above and beyond to enhance the filing experience for individuals and businesses alike. Let’s take a closer look at the remarkable improvements and the agency’s ongoing commitment to excellence.
Answering Calls and Reducing Wait Times
Nobody likes waiting on hold, especially when it comes to important matters like taxes. The IRS understands this, which is why they answered 3 million more calls during the filing season. But that’s not all. They also managed to slash phone wait times from a frustrating 28 minutes down to just three minutes. This means that taxpayers can now get the assistance they need quickly and efficiently.
Personalized Service and Digitization
In-person interactions are still valuable, and the IRS recognizes the importance of serving taxpayers face-to-face. To ensure that everyone has access to assistance, the IRS has served an additional 140,000 taxpayers in-person. This is a significant step toward reaching underserved communities, including those in rural areas.
Moreover, the IRS has embraced the power of technology by digitizing returns at an unprecedented rate. Through the adoption of new scanning technology, the agency has managed to digitize 80 times more returns than in the previous year. This digital transformation has not only improved efficiency but also cleared the backlog of unprocessed 2022 individual tax returns, ensuring that taxpayers’ filings are processed accurately and without errors.
Introducing New Tools for Taxpayers
In its continuous effort to enhance the taxpayer experience, the IRS has launched two new digital tools. These tools aim to simplify the process and provide taxpayers with more options when it comes to refunds.
One of the notable additions is the new direct-deposit refund option for taxpayers with amended returns. This feature enables taxpayers to receive their refunds directly, saving them time and eliminating the need for paper checks. With this convenient option, taxpayers can expect a faster and more secure way of receiving their refunds.
Commitment to World-Class Service
The IRS is not resting on its laurels. Building on the progress made during the filing season, the agency remains committed to providing world-class service to taxpayers. They have identified three key areas that require their focus: improving taxpayer service, strengthening enforcement against high-income individuals who evade taxes, and modernizing core technology infrastructure.
Helping Taxpayers Get It Right
The IRS wants to ensure that taxpayers get it right the first time, reducing the need for back-and-forth communication to resolve errors. To achieve this, the agency is working on creating a seamless interaction between taxpayers and the IRS through multiple channels, including phone, in-person, and online.
To expand their in-person service, the IRS is opening more Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. Additionally, they are organizing special events called Community Assistance Visits, where taxpayers from underserved areas can meet face-to-face with IRS customer service representatives. These events have already taken place in Paris, Texas, and more are planned in different states.
Enhancing Online Accounts
Taxpayers deserve the same level of functionality in their online accounts as they have with their banks or other financial institutions. The IRS aims to achieve this by providing secure filing options and allowing taxpayers to respond to notices digitally.
The IRS has made significant progress in deploying enhanced capabilities for Individual Online Accounts. Taxpayers can now enjoy features like secure messaging, live chat, and a virtual assistant. By the end of September, they will also be able to validate their bank accounts and save multiple accounts, further streamlining the process.
Similar enhancements are underway for Tax Professional Accounts and Business Online Accounts, empowering tax professionals and businesses with more efficient ways to manage their tax-related activities.
The IRS understands the importance of having a user-friendly website where taxpayers can easily access information and services. By the 2024 filing season, IRS.gov will undergo significant improvements to enhance its usability and accessibility.
Updates to the home page, filing season content, and global site navigation will make it easier for taxpayers to find the information they need. These improvements aim to create a seamless experience for taxpayers as they navigate the website for various tax-related matters.
Leveraging Technology for Efficient Processing
In their efforts to modernize technology, the IRS is replacing outdated mail-sorting machines and scanners. The new mail sorting machines will expedite the processing of paper returns, enabling the IRS to deliver refunds more quickly. Additionally, the replacement of old scanners with modern ones will significantly improve the processing speed of incoming paper documents.
Digitization is a key focus for the IRS, as it allows for greater efficiency and improved service. With the introduction of a mobile application prototype called “Inform Me,” taxpayers will be able to scan paper IRS forms or notices using their smartphones. The app will recognize the document and provide relevant information and guidance from IRS.gov, helping taxpayers find answers to their questions quickly and accurately.
Ensuring Tax Compliance for High-Income Individuals
The IRS is determined to ensure that high-income individuals pay the taxes they owe. In the past, budget cuts hindered the agency’s ability to keep up with the sophisticated tactics used by the wealthiest taxpayers to hide their income and evade taxes. However, the IRS has taken swift and aggressive action to close this gap.
Recent efforts have resulted in the closure of approximately 175 delinquent tax cases for millionaires, generating a substantial $38 million in recoveries. This is just the beginning, as the IRS plans to continue pursuing delinquent millionaires and ramping up enforcement capabilities through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The IRS’s Criminal Investigation team has also made significant progress in cracking down on tax-evading millionaires. Through diligent investigations, they have successfully prosecuted wealthy individuals for tax evasion, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. These individuals will be held accountable for their actions, and the government will collect what is owed.
Furthermore, the IRS has identified cases involving high-income individuals claiming benefits in Puerto Rico without meeting the residence and source rules. These cases will be thoroughly investigated, ensuring that these individuals are not able to avoid U.S. taxation on U.S. source income.
Embracing Technological Advancements
As part of their commitment to providing world-class service and protecting taxpayers’ data, the IRS is embracing technological advancements. The replacement of outdated mail sorting machines and scanners is just the beginning.
By modernizing core technology infrastructure, the IRS is equipping its employees with the tools they need to process tax returns and deliver refunds efficiently. The digitization of paper returns and the development of mobile applications are revolutionizing the way taxpayers interact with the IRS, providing greater convenience and accessibility.
The IRS is fully aware of the importance of adapting to the digital age, and they are committed to leveraging technology to enhance service, improve data security, and ensure a smooth and efficient tax-filing experience for all.
The IRS has made remarkable progress in improving taxpayer service, strengthening enforcement efforts, and modernizing core technology infrastructure. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, the agency is dedicated to providing world-class service while protecting taxpayers’ data. The enhancements made during the 2023 filing season are just the beginning of a new era of efficiency and convenience for taxpayers across the nation. As the IRS continues to embrace technology and refine its processes, we can expect even greater advancements in the years to come.
Originally published on IRS.gov