A new and improved Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website debuted last week, with a fresh look, enhanced search capabilities and tools for taxpayers and tax professionals.
“These changes should make it even easier to navigate our site and get taxpayers the information they need to file and pay their taxes,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a statement announcing the new site.
The first thing visitors to the site will notice is the new color scheme and banner logo. New navigation buttons for Individuals, Businesses, Nonprofits and Charities, among others, take taxpayers directly to the sections of the site related to their needs. Searches can also now be conducted by keyword and in more intuitive ways. Advanced search options and search tips are easy to access.
Other highlights of the new IRS homepage include:
- Most requested Forms and Publications. This section lists the top five requested forms and publications from across all channels of the web site, based on what the public is requesting. Popular documents will be available with just one click.
- Online Tools. This section features several of the most frequently used online tools, from filing electronically to checking refund status, available on IRS.gov.
- Featured Content. The middle of the home page is reserved for information that is currently important to many users. This is where news headlines will appear.
- Information About. This section provides six links to general information accessed by many users.
- I need to… The “I need to…” drop-down menu gives users quick access to frequently accessed information within a particular content area. For example, one taxpayer may need the option “Start a Business” while another person may need information on “File an Extension.”
- Promotional Advertisements. This section allows the IRS to bring new programs, information and features on the web site to users’ attention. Viewers can expect to see one or two advertisements in this space.
The homepage is not the only part of the IRS website to be redesigned. Major changes have also been made to the landing page for each of the sections accessed through the buttons on the homepage. One improvement is the addition of a second level of navigations allowing users to easily locate information within the module. For instance, the landing page for tax professionals currently includes links to:
- Tax Professionals Topics like Basic Tools for TaxPro, TaxPro News, TaxPro Events and more.
- IRS Resources including e-file, Forms and Publications, Frequently Asked Questions, Compliance and Enforcement and others.
- Tax Information for Tax Professionals such as FOIA Request for CAF Representative/Client Listing, EITC Assistant, Where to File Addresses for Tax Professionals for Use in Calendar Year 2006, e-services (online tools for Tax Professionals), and Tax Talk Today, just to name a few.
The IRS web site is one of the most heavily used sites on the Internet during the tax filing season. According to statistics provided by the IRS, there were more than 176 million visits to IRS.gov and 1.2 billion page views during fiscal year 2005.