The Treasury Department said the IRS has made significant progress in digitizing its operations, announcing Tuesday that the agency has enabled taxpayers to submit all correspondence and responses to notices online, meeting its first goal of the Paperless Processing Initiative three months ahead of schedule.
The IRS in August announced an ambitious digitization effort that will give taxpayers the option to go paperless for all agency correspondence by the 2024 filing season. That effort includes the elimination of up to 200 million pieces of paper annually, cutting processing times in half and expediting refunds by several weeks.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted the milestone Tuesday while warning that Republicans’ proposed cuts to the agency’s funding would hamper efforts to continue modernizing digital systems and improving customer service.
“Playing politics with IRS funding is unacceptable. Cutting it would be damaging and irresponsible,” Yellen said in prepared remarks. “The IRS collects 96 percent of the federal government’s revenue. This is the funding that enables our country to protect our national security, provide social security and health care, and invest in our nation’s infrastructure, among other key priorities.”
The IRS and Treasury said that achieving the first goal of the Paperless Processing Initiative will allow more than 94 percent of individual taxpayers to no longer have to send physical mail to the IRS. The second goal of the initiative — providing the option for taxpayers to e-File 20 additional tax forms — will be met by the start of the 2024 filing season, the agencies said.
The IRS also highlighted major updates to Where’s My Refund, its most popular customer service tool, for the 2024 filing season, including the ability to use the tool on mobile devices more seamlessly and to see more detailed refund status messages.
Using resources provided through Inflation Reduction Act funding, taxpayers are now able to respond to more notices online, and the IRS said it has made significant progress in the adoption of new technology that automates the scanning of millions of paper returns.
The agency also pointed to better phone and in-person services in the coming year.