FirstGov to make forms, services handier

It soon will be easier for people to find government forms on the Internet — whether they seek a passport, presidential-management internship application

or a patent.

The General Services Administration is preparing to launch a new online

service on the governmentwide Internet portal FirstGov that will link citizens

to the top 500 government services and their associated forms.

Dubbed "FedForms," the service is an initiative of the National Partnership

for Reinventing Government but was implemented by GSA. It will make its

debut on FirstGov in about a week, said Mary Mitchell, deputy associate

administrator for electronic government at GSA.

The FedForms feature will connect users to the most requested services

and the related forms that agencies already have posted online. Users will

be able to download some forms and fill out others online, depending on

what the agency has made available, Mitchell said.

A year ago, President Clinton instructed federal agencies to put online

by December 2000 the forms needed for receiving the 500 most-used government

services. The agencies have responded in triplicate — and then some.

The Internet is awash in electronic federal forms. The Internal Revenue

Service alone has 706 forms online. The Federal Communications Commission

has about 120. The Office of Personnel Management has 100 or more, and the

Social Security Administration has at least 75.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has forms regarding home loans, health

care and more; the Treasury has forms for air cargo manifests to aircraft

user-fee decal requests; the Transportation Department has forms for bidding

on highway contracts.

Apply for a job or report a traumatic injury with forms posted by the

Labor Department; ask for a loan using finance forms from the Export-Import

Bank; or apply for a trademark using an electronic application system.

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