With tax season set to kick off next week, the IRS is launching a new initiative to redesign and simplify common tax documents.
The changes will eventually apply to around 170 million letters that are sent out to individual taxpayers every year. The notices, for example, remind taxpayers of how much they owe, that they have made an error on their returns, or that they have been victims of identity theft.
The current IRS forms are often complicated, confusing and filled with legal jargon. The redesigned versions are shorter with clearer language about the steps taxpayers need to take in the specific notice they receive.
"We need to put more of these letters into plain language, something an average person can understand without needing to hire a tax or legal professional," IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said on a call with reporters Tuesday.
Letters affecting about 20 million taxpayers will be redesigned for the current 2024 tax season. Werfel said the goal is to cover 90% of all notices sent to taxpayers by next year's filing season.
"This is a big undertaking to the IRS, and it will take time and resources" Werfel said, crediting funding that was made available through the Inflation Reduction Act.
That legislation, passed in August 2022, allocated $80 billion to the IRS over 10 years, as part of a push to modernize the agency. Some of those funds have since been clawed back amid ongoing spending fights in Congress.
The IRS says the new "Simple Notice Initiative" builds on a previous effort to improve paperless processing, making it easier for taxpayers to submit documents online.
The 2024 tax filing season officially kicks off on Jan. 29.