Digital Gov

A tax info redesign by the users, for the users

Shutterstock image: government access keyboard.

IRS.gov has long been one of the most-used federal websites, but the online information presentation that the IRS offers taxpayers is in need of an overhaul, so the agency is crowdsourcing improvements.

"[M]uch of this information reads like a receipt and can be incomprehensible to those who are not financial professionals," the IRS acknowledged in a March 22 announcement of its upcoming Tax Design Challenge.

Launching April 17 with an event at the D.C. office of startup incubator 1776, the challenge calls on the public to develop innovative ways to wrangle more than 200 data fields into a more coherent taxpayer learning experience.

The top prize, underwritten by the co-sponsoring Mortgage Bankers Association: $10,000.

Other prizes include thousands of dollars for the best "taxpayer usefulness" and "financial capability."

This is the first time the IRS has tried crowdsourcing such a solution.

Contestants will have access to the aid of government mentors from inside the IRS and other agencies, including several former Presidential Innovation Fellows.

Contestants don't need to actually code working solutions, the IRS announcement noted. They just need to lay out a clear path for bettering the IRS' impersonal method of feeding information to taxpayers.

Submissions will be accepted in image formats. The deadline to enter is May 10.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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