IRS Plans E-File Advertising Program

The Internal Revenue Service is looking for a communications and marketing agency that will team with the tax agency to help encourage the public to file tax returns electronically.

The IRS is asking that proposals from interested companies be filed by February 8, 2002. The advertising contract is a five-year project and is estimated to be worth $80 to $100 million. The media company chosen for the job will work with the IRS in external and internal marketing projects, media research, and direct marketing.

Congress has set a goal for the IRS to have 80% of individual tax returns filed electronically by 2007. Although the IRS hopes that 46 million taxpayers will file electronically this year, compared to 40 million who did so last year, there is speculation that that this year's number may be even higher due to concerns about anthrax mail scares.

Peter Sepp, Vice President for Communications for the National Taxpayers Union, critized the IRS's advertising plans. "That's $100 million that could go to much more important priorities. . . like improving the plain-English content of instruction forms." The National Taxpayers Union is a non-partisan organization dedicated to lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and the principles of rational and limited government.

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