From Left: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Me, Mortgage Bankers Association CEO & President David Stevens

IRS Tax Design Challenge

The IRS, along with their partner, The Mortgage Bankers Association began an awesome crowd-sourcing challenge in April. It was a fantastic opportunity for the public to propose innovative solutions for a reimagined “taxpayer experience of the future.” I was ecstatic to learn that my entry was chosen, out of 48 submissions, for the first-place prize in two categories: Overall Design and Taxpayer Usefulness.

Right from the challenge website:

Taxpayers have the right to be informed, which includes access to their personal taxpayer data. Many taxpayers, however, might not know where to find this information or how to use it, as much of this information reads like a receipt and can be hard to understand for those who are not finance professionals.
The goal of this challenge is to reimagine the taxpayer experience and design the taxpayer experience of the future. With over 200 data fields at play, how might we design, organize, and present tax information in a way that makes it easier for taxpayers to manage their taxpayer responsibilities, and to use their own taxpayer data to make informed and effective decisions about their personal finances?

For those of you who have never gotten a Tax Return Transcript or don’t know what “200 data fields” they’re talking about; here is one I snagged from Google images:

Now imagine that those fields beneath “Income” stretch for 10 more pages and include all itemized fields from your 1040 and supplemental forms.

Challenge entrants will submit a design that:

  • Improves the visual layout and style of the information for the taxpayer
  • Makes it easier for a taxpayer to manage their taxpayer responsibilities
  • Empowers a taxpayer to make informed and effective decisions about their personal finances

The Submission


Thanks for Reading! If you haven’t, be sure to check out the first part of my IRS redesign that covers the IRS Homepage, and the “Where’s My Refund?” Tool.