NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"S" Is For Service -- As In "I.R.S."

August 1, 2000

The Internal Revenue Service wants you to know it cares. So it is spending $6.5 million of the taxpayers' money this year on advertisements -- an increase of 25 percent from last year. The ads will emphasize its approachable, customer-friendly side. One ad features a talking tax form, while another reminds listeners that the "S" in IRS stands for service.

The ads are also designed to encourage e-filings. In a 1998 law, Congress set a target for the IRS to get 80 percent of filings from taxpayers electronically by 2007.

  • This past spring, 35.2 million individual taxpayers -- or about 29 percent -- filed their returns electronically.
  • That was up from 29.7 percent the previous year.
  • Last year, 2.2 million businesses filed electronically -- up from 1.6 million in 1998.

The IRS denies that its new ad campaign reflects qualms about its ability to meet the targets set by Congress.

Source: Archie Ingersoll, "IRS Campaign Stresses Warm, Cuddly Side," Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2000.


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