The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reaffirmed its plans to go digital by 2025 in a move that represents a huge win for the environment, not to mention being a welcome idea by the millions of American citizens who file their taxes each and every year.
In an announcement, the IRS noted how it receives around 76 million paper tax returns and forms annually, combined with 125 million pieces of correspondence and other papers.
Add to this the billion historical documents that need to be kept at the cost of $40 million per year, and the scale of the issue is uncovered.
The IRS is finally going digital
The current plan is to ensure that taxpayers can choose to go digital by Filing Season 2024 should they choose to, which even the IRS calls “ambitious.”
By this period, it is hoped that correspondence, non-tax forms, and responses to notices will all be able to be submitted online, saving around 94% of individual taxpayers from having to communicate via pen and paper.
A further 20 tax forms and at least 20 commonly used non-tax forms will also be included in this first stage, to be followed by a further 150 common non-tax forms during the second stage with a planned date of Filing Season 2025.
At this stage, the IRS also hopes that it will be able to convert half of the correspondences it receives to a digital format, with 100% digital processing following a year later by Filing Season 2026.
The final stages of the process involve converting as many as one billion historical documents to digital format, which the IRS hopes will, in the long run, save it $40 million per year. TechRadar Pro asked the IRS how much it expects to spend on the equivalent amount of digital storage, but we did not receive an immediate response.
n the announcement, the IRS made clear that optimizing pages for mobiles is an important step to ensuring that more Americans can get access to e-filing, citing the 15% of Americans who rely on their mobile phone for Internet access.
On top of the clear environmental waste and taxpayer benefits, the IRS also hopes that having natively digital information will help it to unlock even more powerful analytics to help detect tax evaders and other concerns.