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on May 29, 2001.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Customer Service Task Force found that our customers want fair, respectful and courteous treatment; minimum contact with the IRS; easier, simpler forms and notices; easy access to help; and quick resolution of problems. Currently, the IRS processes over 215 million individual and business tax returns, with most of these transactions taking place on paper. The steady progress of the award-winning TeleFile program and other e-filing initiatives gives a hint of the potential of electronic filing: less paper, no mail, an accuracy rate of 99 percent, faster refunds, and satisfied customers. In order to determine how we are doing, we developed customer satisfaction surveys for the major IRS business lines.
1. Evaluate the results of the Customer Satisfaction Surveys for Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 and utilize these results to create measures of customer satisfaction for IRS and its major business lines as part of the balanced scorecard of performance.
In September 1999, almost 13,000 Federal employees from 48 different government agencies completed the second National Partnership for Reinventing Government Survey. 86% of the 326 IRS employees surveyed agreed that there are service goals aimed at meeting customer expectations as compared to only 72% government-wide. These and other results have been incorporated into the business lines as part of our re-designed balanced scorecard of performance.
2. Minimize contacts with the IRS by rewriting by the end of FY 1999 the most frequently used taxpayer notices under the direction of a notice gatekeeper.
Status: In process
Currently the IRS has redesigned notices that affect 25% of the volume of the notices sent to taxpayers and we expect the public will see these notices during FY 2001. In coordination with the National Partnership for Reinventing Government and the Vice President's Plain Language Initiative, the IRS is sponsoring a Reader Focused Writing approach for rewriting the notices IRS uses. Along with this initiative we are continuing to train our workforce to write clearer correspondence which can be easily understood by the Public.
3. Work toward making electronic filing truly paperless by piloting signature alternatives in FY 1999 and providing electronic payment options to taxpayers starting with Automated Clearing House debit payments for balance due returns in FY 1999.
We have successfully piloted signature alternatives in FY1999 and FY2000. For the 2001 filing season the IRS will be marketing the newly developed Self-Select Personalized Identification Number (PIN) Program to taxpayers and practitioners. In cases where the taxpayer is unable to select their own PIN, the IRS has developed an authorization form that will allow the practitioner to input the PIN on the taxpayer's behalf.
4. Support and motivate the more than Electronic Return Originators who provide electronic filing products and services to taxpayers and continue IRS' e-file campaign to better inform taxpayers and practitioners about the benefits of electronic filing.
The 2000 filing season campaign promoted the use of electronic filing option and the availability and use of electronic payment options. As a result the IRS received over 35 million electronically filed returns with 25 million filed through more than 107,000 electronic return originators. For the 2001 filing season, the IRS expects 38-41 million taxpayers to file their individual returns electronically. As of August 22, 2000, the IRS has received over 428,000 debit and credit card payments that represents an increase of over 200% in receipts from 1999.
5. If a complete and accurate tax return is filed and a taxpayer is due a refund, the IRS will issue a refund within 21 days if it was electronically filed and within 40 days if filed as a paper return.
During the 2000 filing season the IRS was able to meet and exceed the goal of issuing refunds.
The IRS runs one of the nation's most heavily used 800-number operations. In FY 1999, nearly 110 million callers reached the IRS.
6. a) To make it easier for taxpayers to reach us, expand telephone service to 24 hours a day, seven days a week by January 1, 1999.
Tax law assistance was available 24 hours a day for the 2000 filing season and Automated Tax Law service is available 24 hours each day throughout the year.
b) The IRS' long-term goal is to provide this service with an access rate that will range from 85% to 90% for taxpayers calling the IRS and a tax law accuracy rate of 96%.
Status: In process
We have changed the way we measure how quickly people can reach us on the first attempt. Our telephone level of access for filing season 2000 was 63%, which is an increase of 16.6% over filing season 1999. We are also currently working to improve our level of tax law accuracy. The tax law quality rate for filing season 2000 was 71% with an expected goal of 80% for filing season 2001.
Small businesses are the fastest growing part of the national economy, and currently represent the overwhelming percent of all business tax returns. They are also the nation's largest private employer, accounting for 53 percent of private sector jobs and are the backbone of the wage reporting and withholding system. The IRS has recognized this aspect by establishing a business division to exclusively service the small business community.
7. By the end of FY 1998, expand TeleFile to let many small businesses use their telephones to file quarterly Federal tax returns and report employment taxes
Since the program's implementation in 1998, the IRS has received over 2 million quarterly Forms 941 through Telefile.
8. To provide specialized products and services, especially in the area of electronic services for Small Businesses.
The IRS has expanded its Digital Daily web site with a Small Business Corner. It helps small businesses access an array of useful information.
The IRS has successfully implemented the Small Business Talk Brochure, Resource Guide CD-ROM What You Need To Know About Taxes and Other Topics and workshops. We have expanded the partnership with the Association of Small Business Development Centers. We have a prototype site for the Small Business Laboratory, which develops projects that can improve IRS services and performance to small business. The IRS and the Small Business Administration have teamed up on several new programs including offering tax forms and publications at SBA offices.
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