Giving Americans Easier Access to Their Own Data

Nick Sinai and Rajive Mathur  at the White House Blog: “…One of the newest My Data efforts is the IRS tool, Get Transcript. Launched in 2014, Get Transcript allows taxpayers to securely view, print, and download a PDF record of the last three years of their IRS tax account. Get Transcript has produced over 17 million so-called tax transcripts, reducing phone, mail, or in-person requests by approximately 40% from last year. Secure access to your own tax data makes it easier to demonstrate your income with prospective lenders and employers, or help with tax preparation. What was a paper-based transcript process which took multiple days has been made instantaneous and easy for the American taxpayer.
The IRS is an agency that serves virtually every American, and runs one of the nation’s largest customer service operations. To give an idea of the size and scope of responsibilities, the Internal Revenue Service:

  • receives over 80 million phone calls per year, mostly from people eager to hear the status of their refund, understand a notice, make a payment, or update their account;
  • sends out nearly 200 million paper notices annually; and
  • receives over 50 million unique visitors to its website each month during filing season.

Meeting this demand from citizens is a challenge with limited staff and resources. Nonetheless, the IRS is committed to improving service to citizens across all of its channels – whether it’s by phone, walk-ins, or especially its digital services.
Building on the initial success of Get Transcript, there are more exciting improvements to IRS services in the pipeline. For instance, millions of taxpayers contact the IRS every year to ask about their tax status, whether their filing was received, if their refund was processed, or if their payment posted. In the future, taxpayers will be able to answer these types of questions independently by signing in to a mobile-friendly, personalized online account to conduct transactions and see all of their tax information in one place. Users will be able to view account history and balance, make payments or see payment status, or even authorize their tax preparer to view or make changes to their tax return. This will also include the ability to download personal tax information in an easy to use and machine-readable format so that taxpayers can share with trusted recipients if desired….”